Printer Friendly

EDITORIAL SOUND THE ALARM CITY COUNCIL GIVES UP ON SANE POLICY-MAKING.

SOUND the alarm! Sound the alarm! The patients have taken over the asylum!

In Los Angeles City Hall, where members of the City Council have voted in favor of suspending their own citywide burglar-alarm policy, bedlam reigns.

The anarchy began last year, when the city's Police Commission made the mistake of actually trying to improve public safety in Los Angeles - unwittingly proving the old saying that no good deed goes unpunished.

Realizing that the undermanned Los Angeles Police Department wastes some 15 percent of its patrol time chasing down false burglar alarms - and that 95 percent of all alarms are false - the commission devised a common-sense reform: The LAPD would stop responding to alarms that hadn't first been verified by a third party, such as an alarm company.

That seemed reasonable enough. While the policy might have resulted in some real alarms going unanswered, public safety throughout L.A. would have improved overall, with more cops free to patrol neighborhoods.

The proposed policy sent the city's burglar-alarm industry into panic mode, along with the minority of people who have burglar alarms that malfunction 19 out of 20 times. And that caught the attention of the City Council, which takes the concerns of moneyed special interests seriously.

So the council intervened, creating a citizen's oversight panel - packed with the alarm industry and people who support responding to false alarms - to craft a new policy. The result: A ``compromise'' plan that would allow city businesses and homeowners two false alarms a year before losing their LAPD-response privilege.

From the very beginning, the ``compromise'' plan did nothing but compromise public safety. The plan would still force LAPD officers to waste their precious time chasing phantoms, rather than pursuing the gang members and other criminals who terrorize L.A.'s streets.

Ever true to its bungling ways, the council on Tuesday declared its policy a mistake, urging the Police Commission (whose independence from political influence is now in serious question) to place the very policy that it helped to create on hold.

The reason?

The policy doesn't work. There are technical problems, relating to a new LAPD computer system, that severely complicate its implementation.

Too bad no one thought of that earlier - like before the council pushed the commission into adopting its misbegotten policy.

The council's practice of act, then think and ask questions later, has resulted in a massive exercise in public futility. Meanwhile, the LAPD has had to continue operating on a failed and outdated alarms policy for the last year, and perhaps much longer, depending on how long the latest round of delays last.

That may be good news for the alarm industry, and great news for the city's criminals, but it's a crime in the eyes of the millions of Angelenos who are endangered because an understaffed LAPD is wasting its time responding to false alarms.

Sound the alarms, all right. This emergency is real.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Nov 5, 2003
Words:485
Previous Article:EDITORIAL THE RIORDAN REVOLUTION.
Next Article:PANELISTS: BOROUGHS ARE NEXT STEP FOR L.A.


Related Articles
A good page should be a lively dinner party.
Valid reasons back proposed changes to city's charter.
EDITORIAL WEEK IN REVIEW.
EDITORIAL FALSE ALARM WHY HIRE MORE COPS TO DO POINTLESS WORK?
A question of ethics: editorialist's spouse increases political activities.
A question of ethics: be prepared to criticize friends in high places.
Why endorse candidates.
Never forget the paper's own DNA: get to know your paper's personality.
EDITORIAL WEEK IN REVIEW.
Previous relationship with candidate causes credibility issue in the ethics advisor.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters