Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott signed a new bill into law aimed at reducing the number of false intrusion alarms that police respond to at residences and businesses.
The bill, enacted Aug. 12 during a signing ceremony at City Hall, reduces the number of false alarms required before properties are placed on the city’s false alarm registry. Previously, the city allowed 15 false alarm calls before alarm owners were placed on the list. Now, the number is five nuisance calls.
“This bill helps us to free up officer time to be redirected to responding to public safety issues and allows us to put officers where our residents need them the most, out on the street, working to reduce violence,” Scott said at the press conference.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the revision was a long time coming.
“This is also a national best practice, something we should have been doing a long time ago, but here we are,” Harris said via wmar2news.com. “We want to make sure we reduce the amount of time officers are spending on non-emergency calls.”
Commissioner Harrison estimated the number of calls for false alarms is around 14,000 and 18,000 per year, taking 20 to 40 minutes for each officer that responds.
“So when you think about the amount of time we’re spending on calls that are not crimes, not emergencies, matter of fact, I think above 95 percent of the false alarms are actually false, they’re not burglaries,” Harrison said.
According to Commissioner Harrison, this is another step in the smart policing initiative that was presented back in May, working in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Community Development to optimize law enforcement resources.
“We manage the alarm registration program which actually we’re in the process of updating,” Housing and Community Development Commissioner Alice Kennedy. “Just that alarm registration portal for residents so it’s easier to use to just register their alarms, and then we’ll be working on monitoring with the false alarm registration once they get to that five number.”
If the alarm owner fixes the faulty system, an inspection will be done and the alarm will be taken off the registry, allowing for police response once again, wmar2news.com reported.