Greensboro's ordinance back in business

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01/04/2010
Just went through my Google Alerts from over the New Year's weekend and came across a story from the Greensboro, N.C. News & Record highlighting the city's reactivation of its false alarm ordinance. I covered the story about Greensboro putting its ordinance on hold last month in one of SSN's top stories of the month. It looks as though owners of alarm systems need to be vigilant once more. At the time of the suspension, SIAC executive director Stan Martin said "We’ll probably have [someone] go in there to support the chief’s position (and ours) that fining is necessary. However, it is a strong reminder that police are there to respond to the needs of the community and if the citizens, through city council, are willing to spend those resources that way, that’s their choice. Our job is educate them on the downside or consequence of that decision.” Martin today reaffirmed SIAC's willingness to aid municipalities looking to sort out their false alarm woes. "[SIAC law enforcement liaison] Glen Mowrey has been in contact with Greensboro PD and of course we support reasonable fines as a deterrent," Martin said. "There is still much work to be done there and Glen is planning a visit to the PD this month to help with a new plan for the city council to consider." According to the News & Record:
A property owner will be subject to a $50 fine after a third false alarm within a year. But at least one councilman would like to investigate other ways to handle false alarms. “If there are repeat, repeat, repeat offenders, something’s got to give,” Councilman Zack Matheny said. Matheny said the city could consider changing the number of false alarms allowed before a property owner is fined.
The ordinance was originally temporarily shelved due to a small holiday crime wave in a particular neighborhood. Police bowed to citizen pressure that fines during this time could discourage citizens from arming their alarms and could increase break-ins perpetrated by opportunistic criminals looking for peoples' stash of holiday gifts.