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Bill signed to reduce number of false burglary alerts in Baltimore City

Posted at 5:22 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 17:22:47-04

BALTIMORE — A bill was signed Friday in Baltimore’s City Hall, creating a new law changing how police respond to false alarms.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott signed into law a bill that will reduce the number of false burglary alerts required before properties are placed on the city's false alarm registry.

Originally, it would take 15 calls for an alert that was not an emergency to be placed on the list.

Now, the number is brought down to five.

"This has been a long time coming,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said. “This is also a national best practice, something we should have been doing a long time ago, but here we are. We want to make sure we reduce the amount of time officers are spending on non-emergency calls."

Commissioner Harrison said the number of calls for false alarms falls between 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.