False alarm ordinance watch

SSN Staff  - 
Sunday, January 1, 2006

The city's new alarm ordinance raised $191,756 in its first six months, after expenses, but residents feel the program should not make money.
According to a report in The News-Press, Cape Coral spent $48,651 to establish the program. Registration fees and fines brought in $240,407.
The city began requiring residents to register their alarms in April 2005 and pay a one-time $25 fee. That new fee generated $132,025 for the city.
But, going forward, city officials expect to collect less in permit fees since only new residents and those with newly installed security systems will need a permit.
The cost for a false burglar alarm just got higher. This month the city began charging $100 for more than two false alarms in a year.
According to a report in The Herald-Sun, city officials hope higher fines will reduce false alarms.
Under the new fine structure, the city charges $100 for the third and fourth false alarm and $150 for the fifth and sixth false alarm. For 10 false alarms or more, the city charges $300.
Its previous alarm ordinance charged $48 for one false alarm in a month.
City officials plan to implement a false alarm ordinance early this year that would for the first time fine alarm owners for false alarms.
City officials began working on the new ordinance in 2005, after reports showed police responded to 2,201 false alarms in 2004, according to a story in the Northwest Arkansas News.
While the fine structure has yet to be worked out, city officials noted that Olathe, Kan., charges $50 after the third residential false alarm in a year. Commercial false alarms cost $100.
False alarms in Rogers, Ark., would not be considered a criminal offense, however. For unpaid fines, the city would have to file a civil lawsuit to collect money.
Beginning early this year, police will not respond to a home or business burglar alarm unless someone verifies that a crime is taking place.
The verified alarm response policy begins in February, according to a report on KRNV. Under its current system, the city sends two police officers to respond to alarms. Police will continue to respond to panic or hold-up alarms without requiring verification.