Alarm ordinance watch

SSN Staff  - 
Sunday, July 1, 2007

Starkville, Miss.
Just a few months after the Board of Aldermen here passed a new false-alarm ordinance, Clark Pittman, president of Southern Alarm and Communications, is petitioning the Board to have the ordinance discontinued, reported the Commercial Dispatch. Pittman told the Board on May 29 that the ordinance is too far-reaching and places undue burden on alarm subscribers. He wants the ordinance studied further. "To my knowledge," he said, "no communication ever took place between the police department and the major alarm companies in town as to the severity of the false alarm issue, so as to be given an opportunity to propose a plan to reduce nuisance alarms." Alarm subscribers here are allowed three false alarms. The fourth false alarm results in a $300 fine, higher than many municipalities around the United States.

Reno, Nev.
City officials here are considering alterations to the city's alarm ordinance, reported KRNV. At a meeting at the Regional Public Safety Training Center here on June 7, the following changes where discussed: Every alarm user would be permitted at a rate of $25 for the application and $25 for a yearly renewal, with discounts for senior citizens; a $100 fine would be assessed for any false alarm at an unregistered residence or business; a $75 fine would be assessed to the permit holder for any false intrusion alarm; a $200 fine would be assessed to the permit holder for a false robbery or panic alarm; alarm installation and monitoring companies would be required to obtain a security alarm license for $100 each year; and alarm installation and monitoring companies would be required to provide training with every system sold.

Wonder Lake, Ill.
Trustees here approved on June 6 an alarm ordinance that will fine homeowners $25 for a third false alarm at a residence, reported the Northwest Herald. Subsequent false alarms will incur $25 fines as well. "People forget that it's on," Wonder Lake Village president Tony Topf said. "[The new law] isn't meant to severely punish; it's meant to help people be more disciplined when they're putting in these alarms."

Cape Coral, Fla.
Police here are attributing a 54 percent reduction in false alarms to a 2004 ordinance that imposed a $25 fine for a first false alarm at a location and required alarm system registration, reported the News Press. More than 9,000 residences and businesses, and 213 alarm companies, have registered since the ordinance took hold. Police say the department is saving $132,000 annually and is responding to 400 fewer false alarms each month. Sal Inghilleri, owner of Alarm One-Homeland Security Systems, told the paper that he has lost accounts because of the ordinance, but "I think the ordinance is good because it means police have more time for when there actually is a break-in."

Houston, Texas.
Police here are asking the City Council to amend the false alarm ordinance, reported the Chronicle. The department reports that it spends $9 million on responding to false alarms each year, but collects only $4 million in fines and registration fees. Proposed revisions would cut the number of free false alarms in a year from five to three and boost annual registration fees from $15 to $30, with commercial registration moving from $40 to $70.