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Council Takes No Action on Burglar Alarm Policy

November 05, 2003|Jessica Garrison | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council revisited the contentious issue of police response to burglar alarms Tuesday, only to decide not to take any action.

Council members Cindy Miscikowski and Jack Weiss were among those expressing concern that the LAPD is about to implement a new alarm policy before it can be properly enforced or the public has been made aware of the change.

Under the policy, police would not respond to a burglar alarm after two false alarms at the same address. Miscikowski and Weiss said police do not have the technology in place to track false alarms and have not embarked on a sufficient public education campaign.

After much discussion, the council decided to give police officials a chance to work out the kinks. It is not certain when the law will be put into effect.

The alarm issue has bounced between City Hall and Los Angeles Police Department headquarters for months, with policy makers struggling to reform a system in which an overburdened police force must respond to thousands of false burglar alarms in houses and businesses.

In January, at the urging of Police Chief William J. Bratton, the Police Commission voted to have officers stop responding to alarms unless they were verified as emergencies. The commission delayed implementing the policy after complaints from Councilwoman Janice Hahn, private alarm companies and others. The policy was to have taken effect Saturday, but was put on hold last week after council members said police had not adequately studied its likely effects.

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