False alarm ordinance watch

SSN Staff  - 
Friday, November 1, 2002

Country Club Hills, Mo.

Country Club Hills alderman recently voted to start charging fines for repeated false alarms at homes and businesses as part of increasing fees for several municipal permits.

Officials plan to provide a warning for the first offense, but charge $25 for two false alarms, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The third false alarm costs $50 while four or more results in a charge of $100.

Howard County, Md.

A year after implementing a new false alarm ordinance, Howard County has spent nearly $60,000 on a computer program to help track alarms.

The program is called CryWolf and monitors the number of alarms at each address in the database, according to a report in The Baltimore Sun. The program can also create bills for repeat offenders.

Police officials plan to install the system in the coming months to help them monitor alarms. In 2000, a year before adding a false alarm ordinance, the county received 24,013 alarm calls, but that number dropped to 22,601 in 2001.

South Miami, Fla.

South Miami commissioners have issued a mandate requiring residents to pay $50 a year to register their burglar alarm, even if the alarm is not monitored by a central station that calls police.

The new mandate means that people with motion detection and fire-only alarms have to now pay the fee. Most cities require only alarms linked to a central station to register with either police or the municipality.

Police know of nearly 2,900 commercial and residential alarms in the city, but say they cannot follow up on alarms properly because they do not know all alarm owners, according to a report in The Miami Herald.

Wheatfield, N.Y.

Town officials met in late September with representatives from local alarm companies to investigate a rash of false alarms at the town's Community Center.

This year, the local fire companies and the Niagara County Sheriff's Department have charged the town $75 per visit, more than $3,000 in fees, including $525 in one month, according to The Buffalo News.