Santa Fe Citizens Help Fund City Services through Registration Fees and False Alarm Fines

Posted by , , at 8:06 am

More and more police and fire departments across the US have found a way to ease their budgetary constraints: allocate a portion of the costs for emergency response directly to the consumer. But in this case, the people paying for the services are, for the most part, the same folks who are using those services. And that means the people with alarm systems – especially the people whose alarm systems are resulting in dispatching emergency personnel for false alarms.

A Growing Trend

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! – needs 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 bringing in some serious revenue – as demonstrated by this report from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Since implementing a fee-based program to curb false alarms in 2010, this city has collected nearly $500,000 in false alarm fines and registration fees. Administered by CryWolf False Alarm Solutions, the alarm management program requires consumers, alarm and monitoring companies to register with the city.

How the Program Works

The program, which levies fines when police and fire personnel respond to a false alarm, calls on alarm installers to educate customers on how to avoid false alarms, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. Under a city ordinance, the first two false alarms are free; however, the third through fifth costs $150, and the sixth and subsequent false alarms cost $300. The city will revoke alarm registration and withhold police response if a home or business has more than 11 false alarms in a one-year period.

Administered by a Third Party

CryWolf, which takes a 32% fee off the top of collections, has earned more than $271,000 from residents and businesses. Since implementing the program, the city has experienced a significant drop in false alarm calls. In 2009, police responded to 6,483 calls, compared to 4,774 in 2012.

Well – the program certainly appears to be working: fewer false alarms, and more cash in city coffers.

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.

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 alarm company about CP01 compliance for your system’s ease of use (CP01 is a requirement 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.

Comments (4)

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  1. Alan

    I have little problem with this fee structure, but I do have a problem with a private company earning so much of a percentage from such an easy task. That is ridiculous. It should be 20% at most. This is a violation of public trust.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – thanks, and good point. These third party companies actually require us (the alarm dealers) to do the bulk of the work, and they rep the rewards. But more and more jurisdictions are turning to them, instead of setting up their own team and process – which makes sense it you are a municipality. We just deal with it, and make sure all our paperwork is timely and accurate. Thanks again!

  2. Alan

    I have little problem with this fee structure, but I do have a problem with a private company earning so much of a percentage from such an easy task. That is ridiculous. It should be 20% at most. This is a violation of public trust.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Alan – thanks, and good point. These third party companies actually require us (the alarm dealers) to do the bulk of the work, and they rep the rewards. But more and more jurisdictions are turning to them, instead of setting up their own team and process – which makes sense it you are a municipality. We just deal with it, and make sure all our paperwork is timely and accurate. Thanks again!

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