Option 1 ?
Embrace Verified Response
Verified response is a proven law enforcement technique
embraced by the Department of Justice and most major law enforcement
organizations. You would have to look far and wide to find a police chief in a
major metropolitan city that is not in favor of verified response. Currently in
the City of Dallas, if your burglar alarm is activated and it is not followed by
a 911 call, you are going to see a Dallas Police Officer in 35-120 minutes.
Reliable estimates suggest that verified response will deliver a Dallas Police
Officer to the scene of the same burglary in 22 minutes. This week Mark Peck
from the Salt Lake City Police Department went further suggesting that they have
reduced their burglar alarm response times even further to a combined total of
13-14 minutes. Response time for 911 calls has been reduced from 5 minutes to 3
minutes. Shanna Werner the alarm program administrator for Salt Lake City
suggested that from the date of implementation until last week, the grand total
of citizen complaints received from the verified response program was ZERO.
Much has been said about the crime rates in Las Vegas and
Salt Lake City. A thorough review of the DOJ Uniform Crime Reports suggests that
when comparing the five year average of burglaries per 100,000 citizens before
VR, versus the five year average of burglaries per 100,000 citizens after VR, a
burglary reduction of 15% exists for the 1991 implementation in Las Vegas
Nevada, and a burglary reduction of 19% exists for the 2000 implementation in
Salt Lake City Utah.
1986-1990 Average Burglaries per 100K Las Vegas = 1800
1991-1995 Average Burglaries per 100K Las Vegas = 1523
(1800-1523) / 1800 = 15% reduction
1995-1999 Average Burglaries per 100K Salt Lake City = 1555
2000-2004 Average Burglaries per 100K Salt Lake City = 1261
(1555-1261) / 1555 = 19% reduction
Citizens have also expressed concerns suggesting that no
one will be coming when my burglar alarm goes off. The proposed ?phase-in plan?
for verified response provides for the police department to respond to burglar
alarm calls in the same way they do today for a period of several months.
Private security companies like CBI Security Services in Salt Lake City will be
phased in through private contractual arrangements with burglar alarm providers.
CBI guard responders train with the Salt Lake City Police Department and are
prepared to be the first ?officer? on the scene. Transition will occur with the
police department responding to all burglar alarms while private companies are
ramping up, and the DPD will continue to respond to all 911, panic, and verified
alarm calls indefinitely.
To date, not one city that has adopted verified response
beyond the political phase has turned back.
Option 2 ?
Continue the Status Quo
Historically the burglar alarm industry answered their own
calls as part of the service provided to residential burglar alarm service
contracts. Over time, the City of Dallas has allowed the burglar alarm industry
to imbed itself into the public safety budget. I believe that the labor cost per
false alarm of $58 is accurate and I would assume it provides complete agreement
that $50 permit fees did not keep pace with the true cost of servicing false
burglar alarm calls for the 66,672 registered permits. It is also true that
every one of the false burglar alarm calls required a subsidy of tires, fuel,
cruiser maintenance, depreciation, and cruiser accident costs to service. The $8
discrepancy in the permit fee/labor cost calculation clearly demonstrates that
the city of Dallas deposited at least $262,400 of the police department budget
into the coffers of private alarm companies by servicing their private contracts
in 2004. I would bet anyone dinner that the true costs subsidized by non-alarm
owners in 2004 surpassed a million dollars.
66,672 registered alarms x $50 permit fee = $3,333,600
62,000 burglar alarm calls x $58 labor per call = $3,596,000
$3,596,000 - $3,333,600 = $262,400 (conservatively)
484,117 housing units in the City of Dallas
66,672 / 484,117 = 14% of housing units with alarms
100% - 14% = 86% of housing units w/o an alarm paid
$262,400 bill to industry
10/19/05 Callie Stephens:
Your quote from Privatization Watch is blatantly deceptive
and not applicable to Dallas. The statement "false alarm activations
increase an average of 10% per year" may be true nationwide, but not in
years ago, Dallas Police reported over 140,000 alarm calls. Last year,
they reported around 66,000 calls - and that is
with significantly more alarm systems in Dallas today than 8
years ago. The alarm industry, at least in Dallas, has been highly
successful in reducing total alarm calls by well over 50%.
Your article leaves Dallas citizens
with the impression that false alarms were going up every year in Dallas
by 10% while they are actually decreasing.
Leaving that impression does not accomplish your stated goal of "getting
accurate information to the public".
Your most serious deception goes
back to the impression that non-alarm owners are paying for the police to
respond to alarm owners. You and the police department have both
distorted that point. The police department has sent false and misleading
information out to Dallas citizens in brochures and letters paid for by
taxpayers, according to the DMN. In fact, in
Sherry Jacobson's DMN 10/11 article,
she quoted Kunkle himself that
"the burglar alarm program pays for
itself." His quotation in
brochures and letters to Dallas citizens states
alarm owners were being "subsidized" by taxpayers that do not have
alarms. This goes way beyond misinformation.
According to the Los Angeles Task
Force Report that resulted in LA dropping VR before it was initiated, over
80% of alarm owners in LA had ZERO false alarms in a twelve month period.
That study jives with similar estimates here in Dallas. Those alarm
owners are contributing more revenue for police in Dallas than the people
that don't have alarms and
the police did not come to their homes once. The
fees and fines more than pay for police response. It is straight bullshit
that alarm owners are wasting police resources. They are paying for those
resources. To infer otherwise is demagoguery.
My most serious concern is that
wealthy and middle-class alarm owners will most certainly hire security
patrols, while lower income citizens of South Dallas, who already suffer
the highest crime rates and need security the most, will be who suffer the
it appears you have manipulated stats and facts to justify your position.
But when stats and facts are presented fully, honestly and objectively,
I don't think the average citizen would come to the same conclusion that
Middle and upper middle class
citizens can afford security gates and security patrols to protect them.
Most citizens cannot. The most basic and fundamental
responsibility of local government is to protect its citizens from
crime. Dallas is failing at that responsibility with the highest total
crime rate per capita and highest burglary rate per capita among cities
over a million in population for 8 YEARS IN A
ROW. Crime reduction is the police's responsibility, not the
responsibility of private business.
VR is just a smokescreen. It will
not save money, and it will not reduce crime.
It keeps everyone from debating the real issue: How
does Dallas get 750 additional police it needs to be able to provide an
authority presence on our streets and be able to
implement "broken windows" so we can seriously reduce crime
- not distort and disguise it with smoke and mirrors and verified