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DPD: False Burglar Alarms Are Wasting Our Time

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - The Detroit Police Department says too much of their time is wasted responding to false burglar alarm calls. 

In a pitch to a Detroit City Council committee on Monday, police said they want all alarms registered with the city, with owners facing fines if police respond to a false call.

The new plan would require residents to register alarms with the city for a fee, much like some suburban communities require. Anyone who fails to register an alarm faces a $100 fine if police respond to a false call.

Police say 99 percent of alarms aren't actual emergencies, and that's time they could spend fighting real crimes.

The city averages more than 15,000 burglaries a year, but less than 1 percent of the more than 60,000 burglar alarms that sound each year in Detroit are credible, Police Cmdr. Todd Bettison told the committee.

If alarms are registered, police would be able to verify the authenticity of emergencies.

That could mean officers might not investigate most residential and business burglary alarms until a crime is verified by an alarm company or a 911 caller.

However, exceptions to the proposed crime-in-progress verification would be made for people who hit a panic button on their alarm or if they call 911 and say they feel they are in danger.

In response, some alarm companies claim police are padding their false alarm numbers.

Council members are expected to continue debating the issue next week.

The Associates Press contributed to this report.

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