CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The final item on your checklist before you head out of town for the holidays may be to set your home’s security system.
This time of year, police say home break-ins rise as burglars know people are away or spending time with family and it’s likely you’ll have cash and gifts inside.
But did you know, simply setting your home’s security system isn’t enough in many cities across our area?
Many cities, including Charlotte, also require homes and businesses to register security systems with the city and/or police agencies. In Charlotte, for example, registration is free and available online, but you must renew every year. If you fail to register or renew, police say they won’t respond.
“If the alarm company calls into the police department, the first question we’re going to ask is what’s the alarm permit number?” said officer Craig Allen, with CMPD’s False Alarm Unit.
CMPD’S False Alarm Unit was established in 1996, when county commissioners passed a city-wide ordinance, making alarm permits mandatory, after receiving more 106,000 alarm-related calls that year.
“The challenge was being able to manage the manpower and the demand of the calls with other police work,” Allen explained.
Since the ordinance was passed, police say the numbers have come down, but not enough. In 2016, officer Allen says more than 54,000 alarm-related calls were received by CMPD’s dispatch center and roughly 98 percent of them were false alarms.
“Caused by faulty equipment, people not maintaining their alarm systems and people not knowing how to properly use their systems,” said Allen.
Now in 2017, a time when Charlotte’s population has grown exponentially, police are finding many residents are unaware of the ordinance.
CMPD says they always respond, however, to calls such as hold-ups and panic alarms, regardless of permits.