While crime rates in other categories have declined or remained flat, the rate of burglaries in Modesto has increased by double digits.
In fall 2006, Chief Roy Wasden announced that the Modesto Police Department would no longer respond to domestic burglary alarms unless the burglary could be verified. If a home alarm went off, the alarm company had to confirm with the resident, a neighbor or private security that there was indeed a burglary in progress before the police would be dispatched.
I remember thinking that we had been thrown to the wolves and wondering what the burglary rate in Modesto would look like in a couple of years. I now know.
The justification was that the false alarm rate was too high, therefore sending officers out was not a good use of scarce resources.
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I thought at the time that if home alarms are going off for no good reason, then that is the problem that needs to be corrected. Stripping residents of police protection was not addressing the real issue.
If the department does not have sufficient funding to provide adequate police services, then the chief should advise the City Council. If additional funds are necessary, then so be it.
I would much rather pay an additional half-cent sales tax for better police protection than pay an additional tax for more mass transit and bike paths. But that is another subject.
HARRY E. MILLER