Wheeling, WV has seen a 14 percent drop in alarm calls during it’s most recent 12-month reporting period. Between Oct. 1, 2016, and Sept. 30, 2017, the Wheeling Police Department responded to 969 alarms. A year later (Oct. 1, 2017, through Sept. 30 of this year), officers were called to 834 alarms with only eight of those proving to be valid calls. Over the past 12 months, the city leveled fines totaling $55,000 against residential and commercial property owners who either failed to register their alarms or whose properties experienced multiple false alarms.
One of the components put into place by the city was provisions of the model ordinance, including registration and fines for false alarm activations. When effectively enforced, as seen in many other communities, positive results take place.
The city initiated the Wheeling False Alarm Reduction Program on Oct. 1, 2016. It requires all burglar or panic type alarms, such as those at banks, to be registered with the city. Registrations must be renewed each year in October. Letters have gone out to current alarm holders as a reminder to renew. Registration is free.
The city reported it has gone 50 days out of the past 365 without a false alarm. The year before it was 30 days.
With fewer alarm calls, city officers are able to perform more street patrols and other work, according to Wheeling Police Department Public Information Officer Philip Stahl, who noted that two officers are required to respond to an alarm for safety reasons.
Improving these numbers takes time, but Wheeling is one more example that with a well-implemented and enforced ordinance that improvements take place in terms of reducing inadvertent alarm activations. With continued focus, those numbers should continue to come down. That’s good for the community, the PD and security industry.