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For the third time over the course of about 2 months, someone pulled the fire alarm last night in the apartment complex I live in.

There was no fire. They just think it is funny to pull the alarm and get everyone out of bed and to cause issues with the fire department having to come out here. It happens between the hours of 2am and 4:30am.

The alarm is a very loud beeping noise and my ears ring for a few hours afterward, even being inside for just a few minutes to get dressed and leave. I was reading and there have been a lot of firemen/women who have died in the last 10 years responding to false alarms. This is dangerous, despicable, harmful, and very annoying.

I have emailed the apartment manager each time it has happened. There are over 450 units in this complex with about 95% occupancy, and average rent is around $1,000. So, their average monthly income is between $350,000 and $400,000 each month. This complex has been here maybe 7 years, and had a 3 to 4 year pay-off. This means now, less taxes and overhead for employees and upkeep, the cashflow is all profit for the corporation which owns this property. I put their monthly net income around $200,000 to $250,000.

I have encouraged them to hire a P.I. and find the arsehole who is doing this. I have encouraged them to have the police fingerprint the fire alarm which was tripped and find who did it. I have encouraged them to install video surveillance of the areas where there are fire alarm panels. They have failed to do anything other than send out a letter saying "This is illegal behavior....we apologize for the inconvenience." They have enough cashflow to support any of these things.

Well, I am sick of it. I really hate that I have no control over the situation...what can I do?...I dont know.

I told them in an email last night that I am about ready to break my lease and they can take me to court and will get nothing.

I was thinking...can I file a police report? Would it be a similar report to if a person were to see an unidentified prowler? Or, could I file a civil harassment or disturbance complaint report? Can I file a police report and name the complex as the offender in anything?

I need to start building a paper-trail case to where if I do decide to get the hell out of here, they can't get anything from me. Even if it would prompt them to do something more than send out an "apology" letter, that would be a good goal.

I also thought about getting a petition signed by as many residents as I can demanding the complex managers take action.

What do you all suggest?

Thanks.
 

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Attack

CrazyIvan: Sir; all the above + start looking for another place to live.
In your petition ask the fellow petitioners
1. Do they feel strongly enough about this to move out
2. Do they feel strongly enough to file civil complaint
3. Do they feel strongly enough to support your petition.

Wording in any petition is valuable, Do a "check mark" describing with strong answers. Should you get somewhat of 50% response, you have recourse.

Keep records, call the fire department, call the police, call the housing authority, call the code enforcement office, asking all what can and needs to be done. Have these to put something into action. This alone will probably be enough to get you evicted, then lay the ground work for your attack on them.

Keep records of all the above with 'name' date and time of call.

CrazyIvan: Sir; all the above + start looking for another place to live.
In your petition ask the fellow petitioners
1. Do they feel strongly enough about this to move out
2. Do they feel strongly enough to file civil complaint
3. Do they feel strongly enough to support your petition.

Wording in any petition is valuable, Do a "check mark" describing with strong answers. Should you get somewhat of 50% response, you have recourse.

Keep records, call the fire department, call the police, call the housing authority, call the code enforcement office, asking all what can and needs to be done. Have these to put something into action in writing. This alone will probably be enough to get you evicted, then lay the ground work for your attack on them.

Keep records of all the above with 'name' date and time of call.
 

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Remote cameras are small and cheap these days. Just make sure no one sees you do it because it will spread like a wild fire and they will be tipped off.
 

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Wow Ivan thats most intolerable.
I certainly am not the lawyer type but also have some common sense. I think the paper trail is a great start. How about the true owners and a meeting with the many folks that now pay to profit the individual or company. You could make that happen with a registered letter to the owners and along with the list of patrons that have been jacked around by the malicious individual and the owners that now seem to be just collecting there profit. If that does not do it, i believe it would be a great case against the owners in court. But maybe some one else will answer you shortly with a more solid educated stance than i.

Hey good luck with that and keep us posted.....P.S. your idea of the cameras is the answer, hope they spend the money to make that happen.
 

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Hidden camera system is the cheapest and best way to catch the culprit/s. They make hidden cameras, or shall I say hide hidden cameras inside exit signs and or emergency light units.

I'd have to ask, is it the same alarm being pulled each time? If so, a camera is definately the best route. I'd also ask, are these "secure" buildings? Another possibility, it could be an old tenant that still has a way in. It could be someone visiting someone that does live there, and they pull it as they leave.
It could also be someone that lives there using it as a way to maybe rob people, hoping someone leaves in a hurry and doesn't lock their door? I'd ask around and see if anyone has discovered anything missing? If so, there's the police report.

I would definately do a petition. 1). every tenant is inconvenienced by the "false" alarm/s. 2). The management company and or owners would definately do something knowing about a 1000 or more tenants are unhappy which the petition would demonstrate 3.) you'd have proof you've tried the civil approach with whomever to get this resolved so that if down the road it has
to be taken to the next level.

As for a police report, I'm not sure "you" personally can file one because other then an inconvenience, there's no real harm being done, to you, that is. I would think, if it's happening often enough, the fire dept. would be the one that would bring about a police report or police intervention? In the end, it is they that harm could be done to, because as you said, most fireman get injured on false alarms... I would think the management company or owners should be able to file a report?

But know this, I guarantee you the management company and/or owners are getting billed each time that alarm is pulled. They (the fire dept/rescue and whomever else that comes out) rarely come out for free anymore, anywhere and charge for each trip. So after enough times being pulled, monetarily, they'll ( the management company/owners will be forced to take action. I also believe if they don't, they might be able to be held accountable to do something to catch the culprit, especially if a fireman, tenant or anyone for that matter, gets hurt.

If you break the lease and move out, they will keep your security deposit. I'm not sure if they'd take you to court. If they did, you'd definately want to have a paper trail as proof that you, along with how many other tenants tried to resolve it, with no results or action being taken. If they did, and you were able to prove you were left with no other alternative/s, but to move out, who knows, you might get the deposit back and then some? Ya' never know. lol Definitely save any email/s you've gotten or anything in regards to the situation. It would also depend on how much time is/were left on the lease...

I don't claim to have the answer/s, I don't claim to know the law/s. I'm just offering thoughts, suggestions, ideas and or other possibilities. I will however claim and agree with you that it has to be a royal pain in the arse and if it were me, I to would love to get my hands on the little bugger/s....

Best of luck to you and be sure to update us.
 

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I don't know about where you are at but, in many places it is illegal to activate a fire alarm under false pretenses. Since this is being repeated I would expected the fire and police depts' to investigate it. You may try contacting those depts' directly and see where it leads.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
It has happened enough that if the person is caught, and after a bit of research, they could be charged with the following:

1. Menacing: Class 3 Misdemeanor
2. Disturbing the Peace (disorderly conduct): Class 3 Misdemeanor
3. Public Cuisance (Noise Ordinance breach):
4. Criminal Mischief (Vandalism): Class 3 Misdemeanor or up to a Class 3 Misdemeanor if it causes more than $1,500 in damage to the property (This could come in form of a bill from the fire dept.)
5. Triggering a False Fire Alarm: Class 2 Misdemeanor (as well as civil penalties)

These are just a few of the laws I have found this individual to have breached thus far.
 

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CrazyIvan...Your situation isn't unusual, even though it is disturbing and worse to those affected.

What I'm about to describe is how "we" (my school district) was able to reduce those types of nuisance fire alarm soundings which were not the result of actual fires.

My position was Director of School Operations, and as such I was at the point of being responsible to handle false fire alarms, too. Here's what we finally did which was very effective: (This was in Missouri, and other states may have different rules to abide with)

-Fire Alarms were installed in wall pockets with a glass front. To activate them, it was required that the fire alarm front window be broken with a small hammer attached on a chain, then for a person to reach inside to pull the alarm switch. This required more time for the culprit to be seen by others who might be within visual sight of the alarm station.

-The fire alarm not only went directly to the local fire department, but it also simultaneously went to the office of the building principal.

-Video cameras, with continuous video tapes, were focused on fire alarms which showed who was at the alarms.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
OX,

Thanks for the idea...unfortunately, the complex management office seems to be void of any care about this issue.

I wrote a report here on the complex, which outlines some other issues that I have here:

Opinion of Alexan City Center posted 5/20/2008: Sick and tired of it...

Sick and tired of it...

From: [email protected]
Date posted: 5/20/2008
Years at this apartment: 2006 - 2008







I've lived in the Alexan for 18 months and it is ripe with problems.

1. Kevin (the Qwest representative who deals with the Alexan complex residents' phone and satellite services) is a dumbass who takes weeks to get anything done, and then rarely does it get done right.

2. Fire alarm is falsely pulled on multiple occassions in the middle of the night.

3. Apartment office employees do not take complaints seriously.

4. No guest parking (street parking is only 2-hour during the day). No designated parking...If you get home late, good luck finding a spot to park, as it is usually full.

5. Costs keep going up, up, up...my monthly payments to the complex were around $800 when I moved in. It is now nearly $1000 per month. It has increased 25% in only 18 months (disgusting). Does anyone here get a 25% increase in income in an 18 month period here' ...I didn't think so.

6. One time a guy was trying to get to the tenants in the aparmtment next to mine. He was smashing the steel door with the claw-side of a hammer. 911 hung up on me, and didn't call back. Police were not on the scene for over an hour. Security was nowhere to be seen. Detectives showed up to my apartment by mistake the next day, thinking it was my apartment which was attacked.

7. Mailboxes have been vandalized on a few occassions.

8. Pool Area has been vandalized on a few occassions. Glass bottles have been thrown into the pool area and broken on the concrete, thrown into the pool. Poolside chairs have been thrown into pool and vandalized.

9. Faucets and Fixtures are loose. They don't leak, but they wobble back & forth.

10. Dish washers suck

11. Nothing is tight. Everything is loose. Screws on light-switch panels can be removed with the fingernail.

12. It takes forever for hot water to come out of faucets...Previous apartment I lived in, the water heater was same distance from faucets. Hot water would come out in 5-10 seconds. At the Alexan, you will wait 1-2 minutes for hot water to come out of faucet.

13. Parking lot on North side of complex becomes thick with ice in the winter. Carefull when walking on it. Complex does not remove ice until early springtime. At the end of the cold season, ice can be up to 5" thick in most places.

14. North-West central doors at the 3rd floor stairwell are broken, and have not been fixed. This is a fire door as well as a door meant to block cold and hot air blowing down the hallways messing with apartment temperatures.

15. I used to have one of the fake plants in the big pots outside my apartment door. It looked nice. One night, someone tried to swipe the pot and accidentally slammed it into the door going down the stairs and it broke and fell all over the floor into pieces. I reported the incident to the complex. It took 4 days before they cleaned up the mess. Individual was never aprehended, to my knowledge.

16. Pet fees are outrageous. They want $500 deductible for a CAT! A FRICKING CAT!!!!! You can adopt a cat for $45. They want a $500 deductible'!'!'! Gimme a friggin break.

All I can say if you move into Alexan is go to a Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) Class and buy yourself a gun. Learn to use it, keep it loaded and close...I do...

But, find a nice duplex or townhome to rent...avoid this horrible place.
 

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The one thing I might consider is moving. It sucks, but I know that in some cases when landlords start doing lots of improvements they raise the rent. just something to consider. it sucks having crappy neighbors, I had a psycho neighbor when I lived in Denver, and it sucked because he drove a toe truck, so its not like we could do anything back, he would have towed our cars.
 

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CrazyIvan...Ok...I see the bigger problem now. My suggestion now is for you to contact your city's "Codes Administration Department."

Also, contact your local Fire Department and discuss the false fire alarm problem.

In my city of Kansas City, it is a misdemeanor to have "x" amount of false fire alarms and/or security breeches, and can result in a fine to the administrator of occupied buildings. (I know from experience because one school which I was responsible for had several false alarms when the ceiling fan was activiated at night causing a false security alarm to be made. This alarm also went directly to the local fire department. Consequently, I was fined for having fire alarms over their maximum limit. For sure, it didn't take long then for us to find out what was causing this alarm to go off.(ha) BTW, my school district paid my fine. The teacher had been hanging objects on her classroom ceilings with strings which moved when those fans came on. This motion was picked up by our motion detectors, thus setting off false security alarms.
 

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if your using that as a way to try and get things done, its not going to work. most folks that are in charge of anything are going to stop reading at line #1. the use of the word dumbass instantly makes your entire letter trash. the use of the word incompetant would get you much further.
 

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CrazyIvan...Ok...I see the bigger problem now. My suggestion now is for you to contact your city's "Codes Administration Department."

Also, contact your local Fire Department and discuss the false fire alarm problem.

In my city of Kansas City, it is a misdemeanor to have "x" amount of false fire alarms and/or security breeches, and can result in a fine to the administrator of occupied buildings. (I know from experience because one school which I was responsible for had several false alarms when the ceiling fan was activiated at night causing a false security alarm to be made. This alarm also went directly to the local fire department. Consequently, I was fined for having fire alarms over their maximum limit. For sure, it didn't take long then for us to find out what was causing this alarm to go off.(ha) BTW, my school district paid my fine. The teacher had been hanging objects on her classroom ceilings with strings which moved when those fans came on. This motion was picked up by our motion detectors, thus setting off false security alarms.
This also kind of applies to false calls to the police, or excessive calls to the police if you are a place of business. I know where I live (in midtown) if your business gets excessive calls or lots of false calls they can start fining you for it. However, that is mostly related to bars and restaurants that are suppose to have their own bouncers and abide by all those wacky liquor laws.

I am sure there is a clause somewhere for an apartment building to make sure it doesn't keep getting false alarms and I think the city can hold the property responsible.
 

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I agree with Ox, this has Code Enforcement written all over it!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Lefty, thanks. I changed it on the website.
 

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I agree with Ox, this has Code Enforcement written all over it!
 

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Called the cops. They can't do much from my side. They said the complex would be the victim and would need to file a complaint. However, he said as far as a paper trail, I could call the records department and find out how many false fire alarms have been triggered in a given amount of time. It will show if the complex is doing a reasonable job of trying to cut down on the issue.

As far as fines issued to the complex from the fire department, he said I could call the Fire Dept. Administration office and find out if they issue fees to the complex for this kind of thing.

He did say a petition would be a good start. These cops are on the side of the community. They want it cleaned up, but they can only do so much from where they sit. So, I don't have any animosity toward him.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update:

Fire Alarm went off again.

Saturday, 6/14/08 at around 2:30pm.
and
Tuesday, 6/17/08 at around 2:30am.

I've also gotten some information that there is tagging (graffiti) on the walls of the lower level. (I live on the 3rd floor, so I didn't see this).

Apartment Managers are unresponsive to Emails and complaints.

I have issued a complaint with the BBB.

I will be getting pictures tonight, if I can, of the graffiti, as well as a picture of the t-frame ad board in front of the clubhouse touting this complex as "Luxury Apartments."

Pictures will be going onto a flyer along with my urging people to visit www.bbb.org and file a complaint of their own along with an example of some text.

A phone call will be going out to the Colorado District Manager for Riverstone Residential Group today as well.

This is becoming disruptive on a criminal level and I am QUITE sick of it.
 

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Security cameras in the halls would do well to discourage and prevent that sort of poor behavior. Likely the powers that be are not willing to foot the exspense. If this is left unresolved someone eventualy will be injured, resulting in a lawsuit, and vandalism will likely occur.

You must be terribly frustrated over this, I certainly would be !
 
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