The city of Bend, Ore., plans to start enforcing false alarm fees after responding to more than 2,000 such calls in each of the past two years.
The City Council in 2012 approved fees of $250 for a second false alarm and $500 for a third false alarm but those charges haven’t been enforced.
Police responded to about 4,400 alarms during the two-year span of 2014 and 2015 but wrote only 25 reports. Officers spent more than 500 hours responding.
“Quite frankly, there’s a certain degree of inattentiveness,” Bend Police Chief Jim Porter told The Bulletin. “People will just not apply themselves to repair the alarm when there are problems. Most of (the calls) are human error.”
Police recently sent letters to every address with a false alarm in 2015 informing them that fee enforcement will begin after a two-month grace period.
Police said about three quarters of the false alarms in 2015 came from businesses.
The Third Street Pub had 28 alarms in 2015, with 10 of those being canceled calls. Two more occurred in 2016 after Dot Maielua became a manager.
“I’m in the process of having a technician come in and fix the wiring issue,” Maielua said. “I haven’t had a problem since then.”
She also said some employees didn’t know the code to disable the alarm and the staff is being trained.
Costco on the east side of town had 17 false alarms and canceled calls in 2015 and 28 in 2014. The company declined to comment.
DiamondTree, a marijuana dispensary had 20 false alarm calls in 2015. An employee declined to comment.
Porter said cutting down on false alarms would make more time available for officers to be on patrol.
“We’re trying to get into the community and do effective policing projects,” Porter said. “And to do that we need to be as efficient as we possibly can with our staffing hours.”
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