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False Burglar Alarm Print
Written by Steven Estrada   
Sunday, 14 September 2008

It was a little disheartening to hear about all the crime in our neighborhood last month.

I was even more alarmed to learn that although we're encouraged to call the police if we spot something or someone suspicious, asking the local police to investigate a tripped home burglar alarm may not be encouraged at all.

My home alarm went off last month while I was at work. It called my cell phone and reported a door opened. I called the CASSELBERRY POLICE and asked them to take a peek. The cheerful, courteous person who took the call took my cell phone number and said an officer will call me back from my house. 

That didn't happen.

I rushed home to be greeted with an "alarm report" postcard from the police stuck on the front door with "invalid alarm" checked and a comment saying "all secure."

With the "all clear" from Casselberry's finest - I went inside. The kitchen door was opened.  Maybe I didn't fully close it before leaving the house, and it swung opened, tripping the alarm.

Thanks officers for that glowing report, leaving, and not bothering to call as promised.
A few days later a letter from the Casselberry Police arrived in the mail, along with a Home Security System Form (not found on their WEBSITE) to fill out with my name, alarm, and callback info, that also states more than three false alarms in six months = $75 fine, and not filling out and returning the form is a violation of some local statute.

Bear in mind that I'm a seven year tax-paying, home owner, resident here, and this was my second call to our local Police. (The first was about Hurricane Charley in 2004)

If I were a criminal thinking of burglarizing someone's home or business, I would first test the security system by setting off a false alarm - before actually breaking in.  And knowing Casselberry Police's policies - I'd do that at least three times to discourage the owner from reporting the real break in.

We all pay taxes, and those taxes include the police whose job it is to promote community safety (like at the SEMINOLE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT who even has a free HOUSE WATCH program) - not discourage us from reporting something suspicious. 

Does our local police department also discourage NEIGHBORHGOOD WATCHERS from reporting residents' burglar alams going off, I wonder?

Chances are good, the next time my home alarm goes off, I won't bother to call the Casselberry Police, and instead take the chance of finding myself confronting a criminal, rather than a bill for a housecall by our esteemed money-hungry public servants.

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