Alarm Ordinance Watch
Jan. 31 was the deadline for residents here to comply with an alarm ordinance enacted in January 2007, according to a city release. Now, residences and businesses must apply for security system permits annually, with fees of $50 and $100 respectively. If an application is turned in after Jan. 31, a $10 late fee is added to the cost. Unpermitted alarm systems will not be responded to by police. Government and educational facilities are exempt from the permit fee, but still must acquire a permit and are still subject to false-alarm fines, which kick in at $50 for the fourth and fifth false alarms in a calendar year. Fines increase to $100 for eighth and ninth alarms, and a tenth alarm leads to a revoked permit.
New Braunfels, Texas
Citing a dramatic spike in false alarm activity in 2007, the Herald-Zeitung reported that the City Council here has approved the first reading of an ordinance that would enact higher fees for alarm permits and charge residents and business owners for repeated false alarm calls. Officers responded to 2,531 alarms in the first 10 months of 2007, only 13 of which were valid. That represents a 40 percent increase over the 2006 false alarm total. Under the proposed ordinance, permit fees would rise from $30 to $40 for residences, from $30 to $50 for businesses. Additionally, false alarms will cost $50 for the fourth through seventh alarms, and $100 for further false alarms in a 12-month period.
Wayne County, N.C.
Sheriff Carey Winders told the Goldsboro New Argus that he's considering proposing a false-alarm ordinance similar to that used by the city of Goldsboro, after deputies responded to 449 straight false alarms over a three-month period. The problem is particularly bad in a county environment, he said, because, "you don't drive a mile, you drive 15-20 miles. You've got 50 miles for one alarm, and that's your tax dollars." Wayne County commissioners are now looking to duplicate Goldsboro's ordinance, which charges $50 for a fourth through sixth false alarm, and $100 for seven and up. Goldsboro only collected 14 fines in 2007, and just three total $100 charges.
Durham Region, Ontario
On Jan. 21, according to a press release, a CANASA delegation lead by chapter president Ed Fitchett met with representatives of the Durham Regional Police Service and obtained, on behalf of the security industry, a delay in the implementation of By-law# 02-2007, allowing non-degraded police response to all Durham Region clients until April 15, 2008. This delay in implementation applies to all central stations, regardless of whether a central station has already signed the Alarms Management Program Service Agreement. During this extra time, a working group comprising CANASA representatives will discuss changes in the agreement and CANASA is confident changes favorable to the private security industry can be negotiated.
Douglas County, Colo.
County Commissioners here passed a false alarm ordinance Jan. 23, according to county officials. The ordinance will require alarm companies to register each of their clients with the sheriff's office by paying $40 annually. Then, each alarm site will be allowed two false alarms before being put on "no response" status. To get off the "no response" list, alarm owners have to pay $100 and fix the problem. "Our hope," said sheriff's deputy Ron Hanavan, "is that [the alarm company] would just absorb those costs in their businesses, rather than just pass them on to their customers." The ordinance also requires alarm companies to practice enhanced call verification before reporting the alarm to the sheriff's office. The ordinance goes into effect March 8, and the county will be contracting with a third-party alarm administration company.