Houston & Peach

Warner Robins cancels CryWolf false alarm contract

Warner Robins implements initiative to curb false alarms

All security alarm systems within Warner Robins are required to register with the city. There is a fine for failure to register.
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All security alarm systems within Warner Robins are required to register with the city. There is a fine for failure to register.

A week after announcing a second attempt to implement the CryWolf plan to curb false alarms, Warner Robins City Council voted Monday to cancel it.

The city first tried to implement the program in June 2016, but put it on hold due to citizen complaints about questions the company was asking alarm owners. Last week, the city announced CryWolf was on go again and that people needed to register their alarms, but the complaints were the same.

Prior to the council meeting the council discussed it in closed session because it was a legal matter, said Councilman Tim Thomas. At the end of the regular meeting the council voted to buy out the contract with Public Safety Corp. of Maryland, which owns the CryWolf software, at a cost of $24,000.

“We weren’t happy with the way they were asking for personal information,” Thomas said after the meeting. “They supposedly had stopped that. We were just getting so many complaints. None of us were happy so we are just going to buy the contract out and be done with it.”

He said Police Chief Brett Evans was in agreement with canceling the contract.

The CryWolf software was supposed to track false alarms and owners were to be fined for repeat offenses. But people didn’t like some of the information the company wanted when people registered, such as whether they had guns or dogs. The city delayed implementation indefinitely at that time.

The city thought those issues were worked out when it again last week asked people with alarms to register with the company, but the complaints still came.

“We just got a lot of complaints from people who didn’t like it,” said Mayor Randy Toms. “We just decided we had heard enough outcry about CryWolf.”

The police department sought to implement the program originally because of the large amount of false alarms. In 2015, the police department reported 3,423 false alarms at businesses and 2,855 at residences. The department estimated the time responding to the alarms was the equivalent of two full-time officers over the year.

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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