As increasing numbers of cities, town and counties across continue to implement alarm registration and false alarm fines, the wise and enlightened homeowner with a monitored alarm system – hopefully that means you! – need to make sure your system is registered if that is required. You also need to make sure that you are doing everything you can to avoid false alarms. But alarm registration programs in some jurisdictions are hitting speed bumps along the way to becoming law – as demonstrated by this report from Cleveland, Ohio.
Whatever happened to legislation proposed by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and City Council that called for hefty fines for homeowners who had more than two false security alarms in a year?
Nothing. Although the legislation was introduced at the request of Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration last February, City Council and its Safety Committee have yet to consider the change in the existing city code. Councilman Zack Reed has criticized the legislation, saying a proposed $25 registration fee that would be paid by alarm companies after installation of alarm systems would be passed on to property owners. Reed said the legislation was “dead in the water.”
Treating Homes Like Businesses
But Councilman Kevin Conwell recently said through a council spokesman that the Safety Committee he chairs would consider the legislation sometime during 2013 and needed more information from Safety Director Martin Flask. Conwell said his committee is now focused on 2012 crime statistics and how Cleveland police apply deadly force. The city can currently assess businesses $130 for the third and each subsequent false alarm in a calendar year. The administration wants to apply the same law to homeowners.
The Cost of False Alarms
Cleveland police respond to about 25,000 alarm calls annually and more than 95 percent are found to be false, said mayoral spokeswoman Andrea Taylor. “While officers are responding to false alarms, they could be handling legitimate calls for service or patrolling their assigned neighborhoods,” Taylor said.
Background on False Alarms
The issue has grown as more people install security systems. In the past decade, the number of security-alarm systems in homes and businesses doubled from about 17 million to 34 million, according to Stan Martin, executive director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, a national industry group. The Texas-based coalition formed in 2003 to address the high rate of false alarms. But homeowners often complain that many jurisdictions have implemented alarm registration and false alarm fine laws, but may not have thought through the process very well.
Of course, once your alarm system is registered, your best protection against false alarm fines is to reduce the false alarms themselves. That’s where having advanced features (such as notifications, remote arming/disarming, and video services) can make a tremendous difference in your favor. You also want equipment that is tested and proven for false alarm reduction: demand UL-listed equipment, and be sure to ask your company about CP01 compliance for your system’s ease of use (required for alarm system installations in some states).
As the leader in wireless home security and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US, FrontPoint knows all about false alarm reduction. We use GE Security equipment, which meets the most stringent requirements of UL and other organizations. Plus, we’ll help you get your system registered, if required, and then we’ll work with you so your FrontPoint system works – when you need it to.