Bethlehem council turns down alarm fees

SSN Staff  - 
Thursday, February 17, 2011

BETHLEHEM, Pa.—According to a Feb. 15 story in the Morning Call, the Bethlehem City Council has given preliminary approval to an ordinance that would require home and business owners with burglar and fire alarms to update emergency information each year to better combat false alarms.

However, the story reports the council rejected 5-2 placing a $15 annual fee on roughly 2,000 homeowners and a $35 fee on 1,000 businesses when they update the information.

The annual registration, much like a vehicle registration, would force alarm users to update vital information. That information would include emergency contacts who could deactivate the alarm.

Police reportedly have said they often respond to false alarms and don’t know whom to call to shut them off because the information hasn't been updated in years.

The original 1987 alarm law requires only an initial registration fee, which would still be required under the ordinance.

Under the new law, the penalties for false alarms would also increase. The fines would range from $100-$500, depending on how many times there are false alarms at the property.