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Boulder Sounds Alarm About Expensive Bogus Burglar Alarm Calls

By Tom Mustin

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) - It's an expensive problem that will soon hit Boulder residents in the wallet -- bogus burglar arm calls.

"We have a problem in Boulder with false alarms," Shannon Cordingly with Boulder Police and Fire told CB4's Tom Mustin.

Over a two-year period, police in Boulder answered 4,915 burglar alarm calls at homes and businesses. Only 10 proved to be legit. Starting Wednesday, all Boulder residential and commercial buildings with alarms will pay a $35 registration fee. False alarm repeat offenders will face a fine of up to $450, and more.

(credit: CBS)

"After five false alarms we will cut off response until the problem is resolved," said Cordingly.

Resident Cayman Campbell supports the plan.

"I can totally sympathize with it. I imagine it's a big pain for police to go to a house when there's no issue there," Campbell said.

Cordingly says each year those unnecessary calls cost the city more than $100,000 in manpower.

"That time spent, dispatch is not taking other calls. Officers are not responding to other calls. They're put sometimes in queue because they're responding to these false alarm calls," Cordingly said.

(credit: CBS)

On Tuesday police responded to a false alarm at the Rayback Collective Building on Valmont Street. Steve Johnson's silk screening business is inside. He says police have answered bogus alarms at the building several times. He believes a fine may encourage the owners to address the issue.

"Just being aware of it and potentially fixing the problem that may be causing it," said Johnson.

Now the city is hoping that sounding the alarm about alarms will silence the issue.

"This in an ordinance put in place not to make money for the city but to cut down on something that's a problem," said Cordingly.

(credit: City and County of Denver)

To give some perspective, Denver police received about 47,000 burglar alarm calls over the past two years, but percentage wise had 10 times as many legitimate calls as Boulder.

In Denver, alarm permit holders are fined $50 for a false alarm. After five false alarms, the permit is suspended.

Additional Resources

For more information about Boulder's false alarm reduction program, call Boulder police or log on to their website at

Tom Mustin is CBS4's Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.

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