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Updated: 07/16/2014 08:00:04AM

Sound the alarm

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Bartow Police Chief Joseph Hall

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Residential and business alarms come highly recommended by the police. I am no different; I too consider alarms at your home or office to be a highly effective tool in deterring crime. Alarms can be difficult to manage for property owners when you are having a volume of false alarms.

I am sure you can relate to walking through a parking lot in some shopping center and hearing a car alarm sounding. I also would be willing to bet that you didn’t even pay it much attention other than to complain about the noise. Well, that wasn’t always the case. When alarms on cars first came out they were very popular. The purpose at the time was to alert people that someone was possibly illegally entering a vehicle. Unfortunately, because so many of those alarms were going off because of, well whatever reason, other than a crime related reason, people began to ignore them. So did the police. They lost their effectiveness.

Residential and business alarms are the same. When alarms repeatedly go off for no apparent and legitimate reason, they are not taken seriously. Several issues arise when this occurs. Police officers become less than attentive to the response which puts them in danger, and secondly they are either ignored by neighbors or cause complaints from the neighbors about the repeated noise that alarms make. For us, dispatching officers to repeated alarms that are not functioning properly reduces the deployment of officers where they are actually needed. For this reason, most cities and counties across the country enacted ordinances to encourage residents to properly maintain alarm systems.

In Bartow, we have such an ordinance. All residents and commercial installers should be aware of these ordinances if you live or work here with an alarm system. The City of Bartow’s ordinance requires that you register your alarm with the police department. This process is totally free and is no cost to the resident, but a vital part of the services you receive from the police department after responding. Also, there are penalties associated with repeated false alarms. Obviously, our goal at the police department is to gain voluntary compliance with all laws, but we also understand that from time to time circumstances can be challenging.

Take the time to make sure your alarm is functioning properly. I would be willing to bet that you had it installed for a good reason, and you want it to perform accurately.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns that you need assistance with, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 863-534-5034.

Joe Hall is the chief of the Bartow Police Department.

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