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Letters

L.A. Should Increase Fines for False Alarms

January 19, 2003

Re " 'Security We Can't Afford," editorial, Jan. 13: I agree that false alarms are a problem, but the Police Commission's action ending police response to all but "verified" alarms does nothing to address it. For example, the current policy allows for two "free" false alarms before any fines are imposed. Why not impose a fine on the very first false alarm and escalating fines for subsequent false alarms within a 12-month period? And, instead of dumping those fines into the general fund, why not earmark them for the Police Department? That would help provide resources where they are needed.

The "verification" that the commission envisions is a joke. If I'm not home and a burglar is breaking in, how am I supposed to verify that? Even the current "low-priority" response is a big problem; the nonresponse proposal would declare open season on L.A. homeowners and businesses.

The real problem in L.A. is not the false alarms but the epidemic of burglaries. The reason we have private alarm companies in Los Angeles is that the LAPD sets a low priority on stamping out burglaries. The commission should declare war on burglars, not pull the plug on burglar alarms.

Jon Friedman

Los Angeles

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