LCPD reports 65% false alarm rate
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - They answer your calls for help but from day-to-day, between the burglaries, shootings and other crimes, Lake Charles Police are also responding to their fair share of false alarms.
"We pulled stats for the last 24 months and in that time, we have responded -- just the LCPD -- to 16,971 alarms. Out of those, 11,000 were false alarms, which is about 65 percent," explained Deputy Chief Mark Kraus, Lake Charles Police Department.
Patrolman Corporal John Loftin knows all too well. We rode along with Loftin and saw the problem first hand.
Loftin's first alarm dispatch was to a home on Weaver Road. Once on the scene, he did a walk around of the home to make sure everything was secure.
"Everything looks good, everything is secure. The doors are all locked, windows are all locked. There appears to be no problem. More than likely, what you have here is a homeowner that came home for lunch ... Somehow tripped the alarm and left without even knowing it," said Loftin.
Though a false alarm, Loftin quickly reminded himself it only takes one time for it to be real.
"It's just human nature - you get that in your mind that it's going to be false and it actually becomes an officer safety issue because you are not paying as much attention as you should be," said Loftin.
Soon the alarm calls start rolling in - one after the other. The next call out is to another home in South Lake Charles.
The homeowner appears to be home, but does not answer. Neighbors said they haven't seen anything out of the ordinary.
"It's all locked up. He might be in there sound asleep and not even know we are here," said Loftin.
Once back in the car, another alarm call. This time to a business. Three blocks later, the owner calls in the false alarm.
"They're canceling this before we even get there, which is wonderful for us because it saves us a whole lot of time. So, we don't have to go out there and check the whole business and realize everything is good to go," said Loftin.
Lake Charles Police will, of course, keep responding to all alarm calls, but ask the public to be aware.
"Please, please, please monitor that a little more closely. Give us an opportunity to do other things in other neighborhoods where we can be more utilized," said Kraus.
For safety reasons, two officers are usually dispatched to every alarm call, which as the calls back up, can tax the department's already limited resources.
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