False alarm ordinance watch

SSN Staff  - 
Thursday, September 1, 2005

Banning, Calif.
Banning police officers responded to 1,950 residential and commercial false alarms in the city from November 2004 to April 2005. The police department is in the process of developing an alarm ordinance to reduce this false alarm problem. The city council accepted the motion to develop an ordinance in June. Currently, the city does not charge alarm owners for responses, but that would change if the measure is passed, reported the San Bernardino Sun.
Larimer, Colo.
Larimer County commissioners and police met about creating a false alarm policy, reported The Daily Reporter-Herald, after deputies responded to 1,302 alarms in 2004. The discussion resulted in a proposed ordinance that would require registration of alarms and verified response procedures. Under the proposal, residents must register alarm systems with the county each year. The initial fee would be $50 and renewal fees $25. Police will respond to the alarm only after the alarm company makes two attempts to call and verify the alarm. Under the policy, the first false alarm is free, the second false alarm fine is $50, $75 for a third, $100 for the fourth and $200 for five or more in a one-year period. The policy would not apply to panic or hold-up alarms.
McKinney, Texas
Currently, 15 percent of all calls to the McKinney Police Department are from burglar alarm signals; however, 95 percent of the alarms are false. In August, the McKinney city council discussed a proposed permit fee for security alarms. Under the proposal, owners of alarm systems would be charged after the third false alarm. Officials discussed ways to create a campaign to help residents understand the ordinance. This month, the city council will hold public hearings on the issue, reported the McKinney Courier Gazette.
Pasadena, Calif.
According to The Pasadena Citizen, new legislation is going into effect this month that will increase fines and allow the city to create a non-response ordinance in places that have more than eight false alarms in one year.
Police have responded to 3,310 false alarms, averaging more than 16 false alarms each day, since the beginning of this year. The city fines $30 for more than five false alarms per year. The police department is working with businesses and residences that have had numerous false alarms to bring their alarm systems into compliance.
Rogers, Arkansas
The Rogers fire department said about half the fire calls taken by the department are false alarms, ranging from a wiring problem to an automatic alarm system.
Each call costs the city between $200 and $300 according to a report by the The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
So far this year, the department has logged 13 unintentional fire alarm calls.
The area has recently experienced rapid business growth, so fire officials might plan to consider fines if false alarms do continue.
Already, in neighboring town Springdale, the fire department charges for false alarms.
It fines $50 for the third false alarm.