Tony New England town begins suing repeat false alarm offenders

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

GREENWICH, Conn.—Authorities here, where the median home price is $1 million according to CNN Money, have sued certain repeat false alarm offenders from both the residential and commercial markets for failing to pay false alarm fines. A recent story from Greenwich Time reports the town has followed through with a warning letter it sent out at the beginning of the year that told certain offenders with unpaid false alarm fines they would face legal action if the balances were not paid within 30 days. The town followed through with its threat, and offenders are reportedly not pleased.

This is not the first time a municipality has had to get tough on end users in regards to its false alarm ordinance. Seattle cracked down last year as well.

“Idle threats undermine credibility,” Greenwich Police Chief David Ridberg said in the published report. “If the town said that's what it was going to do, that's what it should do.”

Security Industry Alarm Coalition director Ron Walters agreed, and pointed out actions such as those executed in Greenwich are what give ordinances their teeth and help to curtail the false alarm epidemic. “Actually this is the proper application of an alarm ordinance Virtually every ordinance that fails does so as a result of lack of enforcement. Once in place no ordinance can hope to succeed unless there is the full will of the municipality to fully enforce every provision of the legislation,” Walters said. “Look back to last week and Cathedral City where an ordinance has been in place … but never enforced and now things are so bad they go to a very restricted response policy. So SIAC supports efforts by Greenwich to enforce the provisions of their ordinance.”

 

Connecticut Burglar and Fire Alarm Association executive director Pat Remes agreed. “Greenwich has an ordinance and the only way that will be effective is if the city follows through with what it says it will do,” Remes said. “They give the first alarm free. The offenders who are facing legal action must be abusing the system and the association can’t condone that. Greenwich is following the outline of an effective alarm management program.”

A total of 31 property owners were sent notices on Jan. 15 demanding payment within 30 days for outstanding false alarm fines or face legal action to collect the money. The total amount of fines owed to the town at the time was $74,375 and now sits at roughly $42,000, according to the Greenwich Time story.