False alarm ordinance watch

SSN Staff  - 
Monday, December 1, 2003

MAULDIN, S.C.

The Mauldin City Council released statistics suggesting that false alarms caused by automatic alarm systems have dropped significantly in the two years since an ordinance was adopted.

Under the ordinance, residents may have three false alarms in a 12-month period without penalty. They are fined $50 for the fourth, $100 for the fifth and $200 for the sixth. Alarm owners are also required to pay $10 to register their alarms.

According to the Greenville News, the city has registered 1,232 alarms in two years. Failure to properly register alarms could result in a fine of $150 plus court costs.

CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island

Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachments here will no longer respond to non-verified alarms, excluding panic and hold-up alarms, and will not respond to any alarms communicated by automatic dialers or pre-recorded messages.

In 2002, the RCMP on Prince Edward Island responded to 1,431 false alarm calls, up eight percent from 2001, according to The Guardian. The RCMP has informed alarm companies doing business in the province of the new policy and has asked monitoring companies to verify alarms before calling police.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla.

Hillsborough County officials here are considering new rules that would raise false alarm fines to as much as $500 and make it easier for the county to collect on those fines.

Currently, the county allows for three false alarms with no penalty. Subsequent false alarms then cost $25. If the alarm owner goes six months without a false alarm, they earn another “freebie” before fines are assessed again.

Under the proposed changes, only two false alarms per year would be allowed. The third would cost $25, with each subsequent false alarm escalating in fines up to a $500 cap for the seventh and beyond.

Last year, the county collected $313,000 in fines, but about $343,000 were delinquent.

VACAVILLE, Calif.

Police officials here will present a verified response policy to the City Council this month.

Under the proposed policy, alarm companies would be required to verify the need for police response by talking with a resident, neighbor or private security guard before calling the police. Police would continue to respond automatically to silent panic or duress alarms triggered by users.

The goal of the policy, according to Police Chief Bob Harrison, is to cut false alarms by 75 percent over the next two years. Harrison told the Daily Republic that a fee for violation of the policy has not yet been determined. More than 6,000 residents in Vacaville own burglar alarms.

The council is scheduled to hear the proposal at its Dec. 9 meeting.