Burglar Alarm? Call a Security Guard

Arlington is considering outsourcing reponse to burglar alarms

By Susy Solis
|  Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011  |  Updated 7:30 PM CDT
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The City of <a title=Arlington is trying to figure out how to deal with a budget shortfall, including a proposal to outsource burglar alarm calls to a private security company." />

Susy Solis, NBCDFW.com

The City of Arlington is trying to figure out how to deal with a budget shortfall, including a proposal to outsource burglar alarm calls to a private security company.

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The Arlington City Council will discuss whether armed security guards should respond to burglar alarms instead of police officers.

City officials say the number of false alarms police respond to is alarming -- and costly. Fiscally conservative city officials say it's a waste of city resources and taxpayer money.

Sending officers out to some 13,000 calls costs the city $1.8 million, according to deputy city manager Trey Yelverton. Of those 13,000 calls, 99.7 percent are false alarms, police say.

It costs the city at least $800,000 to respond to those false calls.

The city of Arlington granted 22,000 alarm permits, which raised $1 million in revenue.

At its annual retreat, City Council will consider outsourcing response to alarms.

Michelle Christopher, who has owned Wedding World Bridal and Formal Wear since 1998, said the proposal is a bad idea.

"I would rather have a police officer come out because I feel that the security guards don't have the expertise that a police officer would have in handling that type of situation," she said.

She keeps high-end dresses in stock during prom and wedding season. She said she's never had a burglary call, but said it's the peace of mind she pays for.

Yelverton said the city is simply exploring ways police officers can operate more efficiently.

The council will also consider raising alarm permit fees. Currently, an alarm permit is $50.

The council's annual retreat is Friday.

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