False alarm ordinance watch

SSN Staff  - 
Monday, July 1, 2002

Arlington, Texas

A proposal by the city's police department to stop responding to burglar alarms without verification first received a cool reception by the Arlington City Council.

Some council members at its meeting in late May cautioned against such an ordinance, which would require confirmation that an emergency is in progress before police respond to the scene, according to a report in The Dallas Morning News.

Last year police responded to 31,000 alarm calls. Mayor Elzie Odom recommended more discussions with alarm companies about the proposed ordinance and that the city lobby state legislators to ease restrictions on the city's ability to penalize chronic abusers.

Brampton, Ontario
A temporary false alarm policy was adopted by Peel Regional Police at a meeting with the alarm industry in late May that could result in a suspension of police services for one year.

Police will put a subscriber on notice after the first false alarm, requesting that the subscriber take immediate action to correct the problem. That policy took effect June 3.

A permanent policy, which will require an alarm to be verified before police respond, will take effect June 1, 2006, although Peel Regional Police said in a statement that the department will work with local alarm dealers to use advanced technology for verification purposes.

Houston

The city's mayor has suggested raising the city's burglar alarm permits by $10.

According to a report in The Houston Chronicle, police responded to 94,580 burglar alarms last year, with less than 2,000 of them actual break-ins.

The city's current false alarm policy allows five false alarms a year before imposing fines. After that, the city charges $50 for false alarms six, seven and eight. On the eighth false alarm, the alarm owner's permit is also revoked.

La Vista, neb.
The city has proposed an ordinance that would require property owners to register commercial and apartment alarm systems for an annual fee of $25.

The move is an attempt by the city to curb its false alarm rate, which has doubled in four years, according to a report in the Omaha World Herald. In 1997, the city reported 184 false alarm, compared with 434 in 2001.

The proposed ordinance also imposes a $100 fine for the third false alarms and $250 for four or more in a year.
If approved by the city, it would go into effect in January.