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False Alarm Fines to Begin Nov. 1 in Greenville, N.C.

Greenville police have responded to more than 18,000 alarm calls since 2015, with about 90% of those calls end up being false alarms.

GREENVILLE, N.C. — The Greenville (N.C.) Police Department, starting next month, will impose a new ordinance in an attempt to curb the high volume of false alarm calls from city businesses.

Beginning Nov. 1, alarmed locations will be allotted two alarms per alarm permit year without charge, the Greenville News reports. Failure to pay a false alarm fee within 30 days will result in the alarm fee of $50 doubling. Businesses that have more than 10 false alarm activations will be fined $500 per activation. Businesses that fail to pay could have their business license revoked.

Greenville police have responded to more than 18,000 alarm calls since 2015. In a statement, Police Chief Ken Miller says about 90% of those calls end up being false alarms. In lieu of paying one false alarm fine, residents may opt to attend an online alarm school operated by the city.

“Behind collisions, alarm activations are our second most active service calls,” Miller says. “The purpose behind these changes is to help the Greenville Police Department reduce unnecessary work, so we can better focus on the important crime reduction and traffic safety needs of our community.”

Panic alarm activations will not be impacted by the ordinance change, and officers will continue to respond to those calls, according to the department.

Businesses and residences failing to pay charges from numerous false alarms account for nearly $200,000 in delinquent fines, penalties and interest as of Oct. 23, according to the department.

Greenville police are reaching out to businesses in the city this week through phone calls and mailed letters to notify them of the ordinance changes, the newspaper reports. The money collected from false alarm fines goes to the City of Greenville and pays for the cost of the program.

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