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12.19.18 – FOX13 Memphis –

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Tougher enforcement and better education are helping to drive down the number of false burglar alarms, which is important for public safety in Memphis.

Every time there is a burglary call, Memphis police have to investigate regardless if it is false or real. And that ties up officers who could be fighting crime.

So far this year, the number of false burglary alarm calls have dropped by nearly 20 percent.

“Every false alarm we have is law enforcement or fire resource we don’t have when they should be responding to an actual emergency,” said Doug McGowen, City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer.

According to data FOX13 obtained from the Strickland Administration, the number of false alarms so far this year has dropped to the lowest since the city began tracking the number in 2016.

The mayor’s office said it has received about 60,000 burglar alarms this year both from residential and commercial customers.

“A 20 percent drop is substantial. There have been other communities that have been working at this four or five years who have received a 25 percent drop,” said McGowen.

City officials told FOX13 the decrease came from better education, more people signing up to get a permit, and enforcement.

Constant offenders run the risk of being on a verified response list, which means the owner has to show proof their business has been broken into before police will arrive.

“So, there were a number of business that were put on it and there are many of them that have come into compliance and they are off the list,” said McGowen.