False alarm ordinance watch

SSN Staff  - 
Wednesday, March 1, 2006

In mid-February, the city council was scheduled to hear the first reading of an ordinance that would charge businesses and residences for excessive false alarms.
Compared to some towns, the false alarm fines in Alberta Lea would be minimal. The proposed ordinance calls for a $50 fine for the second false alarm in a six-month period, according to the Alberta Lea Tribune.
But once a business or residence hits four false alarms, the ordinance gets tough. That's when police reserve the right not to respond to an alarm call.
The city council is upping the ante on false burglar alarms, increasing alarm permits and fines for the first false alarm to $100 each. The second false alarm will now cost $200 and the third $300.
The city decided to take dramatic measures after the police chief noted that false burglar alarms due to user error have doubled in the last four years, according to a report in The Aspen Times.
For the first 10 months of 2005, police received 909 false alarm calls. The city has 773 alarm permits on record.
Police here are educating business owners about a new alarm ordinance that went into effect last year by sending letters to those with the most false alarms.
Approximately 75 businesses received a letter from police in December. Though the city does not require businesses to register their alarm, the police department has asked for a person to contact in case of an emergency, according to a report in The Providence Journal.
The new alarm ordinance with fines went into effect in March, 2005. For the fourth false alarm in a 12-month period, the city charges $100. The fifth false alarm costs $250, while the sixth false alarm is $500.
In mid-January, the city's police chief proposed a false alarm ordinance that would impose false alarm fines for the first time, according to the NewsTribune.
Under the proposal, the city would allow alarm owners one free false alarm, before charging $25 for the second, $75 for the third and $100 for the fourth.