False alarm ordinance watch

SSN Staff  - 
Saturday, June 1, 2002


The city's police chief has outlined a plan that allows police to stop responding to burglar alarms and shift the responsibility to the private guard companies.

If approved, the change would begin Sept. 1, according to a report in the Star-Telegram.

Before making the change, the city's police chief is seeking input from city officials.

Police report responding to an average of 87 alarm calls a day. The cost, say police, is $3.7 million a year.

The proposal follows a revision of the city's alarm ordinance in 2000. That ordinance required residents and businesses with alarms to buy an annual $10 permit from the city, but residents 65 years old or older are exempt from the fee.

The city's mayor is drafting an ordinance that would require alarm users to pay false alarm fines and an annual registration fee.

The decision is to help offset the cost of police response to alarms, which city officials say comprise 12 percent of the city's emergency calls. Last year, police responded to more than 32,000 false alarms, according to a report in the Omaha World-Herald.

At first the city considered making alarm companies respond to calls initially instead of police.

The mayor's ordinance would require alarm companies to collect the annual registration fee and turn that over to police. The city is considering charging $25 to register alarms.