I TEAM: 28,000 security alarms, 11 arrests

CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM is investigating what’s not happening when Cleveland Police get notified of security alarms.

We found so far this year in Cleveland, police records show 15, 471 alarm calls to homes and 7 resulted in arrests. Plus 13, 420 alarm calls to businesses that resulted in 4 arrests.

You should know, with home and business alarms, the overwhelming majority of the calls are not emergencies. In most cases, they are false alarms, or they are caused by human errors or malfunctions.

And privately, Cleveland officers tell the I TEAM, alarm calls often have to wait since city police frequently don’t have enough officers to get to top priority shootings and carjackings.

But consider the case of the recent alarm at Internet Auto Sales on the west side. In the wee hours of one morning, security cameras captured burglars prowling the parking lot. They ultimately broke into the office. And police received an alert from a security alarm. Yet employees say they scrambled to the car lot from homes in the suburbs before police got there. The bad guys got away.

Tony Cossu said, "I understand there's all kinds of crime. I know that. But you gotta protect your businesses."

That business now has a new security gate and bars over windows. The folks there wonder if the burglars are the same guys seen at other area crimes. And those businesspeople now realize more than ever that an alarm system may not be nearly enough to protect the property.

Yolanda Cossu said, "I mean, these businesses are here to serve the community. And without businesses, you're not going to have much of a community."

The I TEAM contacted Cleveland Police for comment. We received no response.

We also spoke to the head of a local alarm company. He said some areas are pushing to have alarm companies to have proof a call is legit before sending police. That proof could be either with visual evidence of an intruder or more than one motion sensor. And there’s been a push to crack down on homeowners and businesses with false alarms and malfunctions.