Security alarm owners at odds over police response permits -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Security alarm owners at odds over police response permits


Security alarms go off around the clock in all corners of the metro for a wide variety of reasons from actual criminal acts, to mechanical mistakes and operator error.

But just because the alarm goes off, it doesn't mean that police will respond.

KCTV5 News examined alarm system permitting rules on both sides of the state line and found varying policies when it comes to whether an officer will respond to the alarm activations.

Abraham Karmi, owner of A's Automotive, near Interstate 435 and Hickman Mills Drive, watched as a burglar broke into his store.

His cell phone streamed a video feed from his business' security camera that showed a crook trying to rip him off. He says his alarm company notified him that Kansas City police were not responding.

"When I got the call, I looked at the camera," he said. "I'm at home watching what is going on. We were suppose to have a permit for them to show up. Nobody told me I was to have a permit for an alarm."

For more than a decade, he has been a main supporter of the charity known as Cars for Christmas.

Karmi donates time, service and several cars a year to the program that gives cars to needy families in the metro.

On March 6, days after the break-in on Karmi's car lot, three businesses were hit on East 39th and Main streets.

"I felt ... like just alone," said Cassie Johnson, owner of Artistic Xpression by E'lon.

Officers eventually came, when Johnson and Karmi called to report the incidents themselves to the police. Both business owners were turned into crime victims because their alarms were almost useless.

KCTV5 News discovered the reason that police did not respond to the alarm call from the security companies was due to the fact both owners lacked a valid city alarm permit.

Kansas City has an alarm ordinance on the books that requires security system holders to pay a $45 permit fee. The City Council passed the ordinance in hopes of reducing the number of officers sent on false alarm.

And if people don't have one, the city says, "police response on an alarm activation will be denied." Click here for more information.

Last year, Kansas City police went to 25,352 alarm calls in the city.

Officers did not respond to the alarm calls of another 6,723 because those property owners lacked valid permits.

That did not mean police didn't go when the owner themselves called, but they did not respond to the call for service from the private alarm company.

KCTV5 investigative reporter Eric Chaloux searched through alarm permit ordinances around the metro and found a wide variety of rules and regulations.

"A municipality that doesn't have quite the crime, their rules are going to be more lenient," said Shaunn Jastrzembski, salesman with Atronic Alarms.

Jastrzembski has watched over the years as cities create new alarm rules to make security system owners more responsible so that when the alarm goes off it's for real.

"It allows them to respond to more pertinent calls, in a more timely fashion than running by somebody's house for the sixth time this week," Jastrzembski said.

Jastrzembski said they make sure all clients know the correct permits in their city.

Atronic Alarms assembled a list of permitting regulations around the metro. To see the list, click here.

In Shawnee, the city does not require any alarm permit. Police said they go on all calls for service.

"We respond to all calls for service, including alarms," said Maj. Bill Hisle, with the Shawnee Police Department.

The city of Leawood has a $10 fee for a permit, but the ordinance says they'll try to get owners help but "there is no requirement that Leawood police or fire department personnel respond to any call from an alarm monitoring company of an alarm activation."

"However, as part of our mission of service to our citizens, every effort will be made to respond, in a timely manner, to alarm activation's of registered systems by our emergency services personnel," the city states on their website.

Lenexa, Merriam and Overland Park do require alarm permits.

Across the state line, Blue Springs, Independence, Liberty and Smithville also require alarm permits. For those with alarms in Lee's Summit, there is also a fee that must be paid with the permit.

Of the cities reviewed by KCTV5, none denied service due to lake of a permit like Kansas City, just higher fees on the false alarms if the owner lacked a permit.

False alarms can also be either a system malfunction or operator error.

In 2013, the Overland Park Police Department responded to approximately 6,200 alarm calls. It was determined that more than 95 percent of those alarms were false in nature.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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