Albuquerque police aim to reduce time spent on false alarms

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Police are looking into other options when it comes to responding to alarms at homes and businesses.

They say they’re spending a lot of time on these calls and most of the time, they come up empty handed.

With Albuquerque Police short-staffed, time is precious. But right now something is taking up a lot of it.

“We do spend an incredible amount of time responding to these alarms,” Officer Simon Drobik with the Albuquerque Police Department said.

APD says a study released in June shows they responded to around 22,000 alarms over a years span from 2014 to 2015. The estimated time to respond to them all is about equal to 13 full time officers.

The problem, most of these calls are false alarms.

“Usually pretty constant with false alarms, we see thousands of them every year,” Officer Drobik said.

Often times alarms are activated by pets, or balloons or falling objects.

The city does have a program to reduce the amount of money and resources wasted on false alarm calls around the city. They require people to register their alarms for $25 a year.

They start fining after the third false alarm in a given year. That fine is $150 every time, but even that isn’t enough. At least one of the community policing councils have recommended officers stop responding to these alarms and leave it up to private alarm companies to verify an intrusion first.

The department says they’re now looking into other options.

“But we may be able to allocate our resources better in the future, that ‘s going to be a public thing, if the public agrees that we should stop responding to these alarms because private companies responding to them then we’ll readjust our strategy,” Officer Drobik said.

Other cities across the country who have implemented a verified response policy, have seen dramatic change.

Milwaukee saw their annual alarm calls drop from 30,000 to just 620 in 2012.

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