Kansas City punishes property owners for false alarms

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Thursday, February 26, 2004

February 26, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Most habitual speeding offenders eventually find that the fast lane leads to high fines and court appearances.

Property owners here are facing similar consequences for failing to pay fines associated with false alarms.

Five individuals appeared in municipal court in mid-February to answer charges for failing to pay fines the city charged in conjunction with false alarms. Three of the accused homeowners were convicted, while two pleaded not guilty. City officials expect to charge more than 20 local residents for the same offense within the coming months.

Other municipalities are following suit. The National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association is aware of other areas looking to start similar ordinances including Bend, Ore. and Raleigh, N.C. The organization stands in support of such moves.

“I believe there are people who are trying to skirt the issue. They have registered their alarms, but they are not paying the fines,” said Dr. Rick Ostopowicz, communications manager at the NBFAA.

The NBFAA has developed its own model to help reduce the false alarm, which includes registering alarms, escalating fines for repeat offenders and revoking licenses of habitual offenders.

“We developed the ordinance to help get the situation under control,” he said. “We want to help promote responsible alarm usage.”

For more on this story, see the April issue of Security Systems News.