Memphis Police to Increase False Alarm Fines in 2020

Under new rules individuals and businesses will be fined $140 after their first false alarm dispatch beginning in January.

MEMPHIS — Homeowners and businesses here can expect to pay more for false alarms in the New Year.

Under new rules intended to cut down on police response to nuisance alarms, individuals and businesses will be fined $140 after their first false alarm dispatch. Also, alarm system permits will no longer be renewed by installing security contractors, dailymemphian.com reports. Individuals and businesses must do it themselves.

The Memphis City Council approved the new rules, which go into effect in January.

“People with security systems have always been required to have a permit, but the process for not having a permit is a little different,” said Tiffany Collins, the administrator for the city’s metro alarm office, via dailymemphian.com. “So we are letting people know that if you had a permit and it expired, you need to get one. And if you never had one, you need to get one.”

Collins explained most individuals and businesses that received the mail notifications have permits already, but they need to renew the permits themselves next year because the alarm companies are no longer doing it for them. There are 83,848 active permits on file with the alarm office, according to the Memphis Police Department.

Collins said of the roughly 83,000 permit holders, only 15%, or 12,502, have been cited for false alarms.

“This is a small group, so we’re not talking about all 83,000 permit holders who have false alarms,” Collins said.

The permit fee for residents is $30 and for commercial entities is $60. After that, the annual renewal fee is $10 for homeowners and $25 for businesses.

Anyone who has a permit and has a false alarm will not be charged the first time. For the second and subsequent false alarms, however, the fine and recovery fee is $140.

For anyone without a permit who has a false alarm, there’s no mulligan. They will have to pay the $140 fine for the first offense, plus the permit fees and a $20 processing fee. Homeowners could end up paying a total of $190 for the fine and fees. Businesses could pay $220.

For fiscal 2018, police and fire personnel responded to 52,105 false alarm calls at homes and businesses. In 2019, police and fire personnel have responded to 47,748 false calls.

False alarms cost the city $5.1 million in fiscal 2018 for manpower while the city only collected $1.9 million from fees and fines, according to police. That represented a net loss to the city of $3.2 million.

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One response to “Memphis Police to Increase False Alarm Fines in 2020”

  1. Julia Ross says:

    If someone calls in a fight, and the police respond and there is no fight, do they charge the people who reported the fight $140 if it happens more than once? What about a car wreck? With the proliferation of cell phones, every car wreck on any busy street gets reported multiple times. If the police respond, and the parties have exchanged information and moved from the scene, is a fine levied? What about all those calls to 911? Is it only the sworn officer’s time that’s valuable? What about the dispatchers and call-takers who take those superfluous calls? The ONLY reason police departments, and officers, behave the way they do about alarms, false or otherwise, is because it’s just about the only instance where they can, and because they are allowed to get away with it. Does the homeowner or the business owner pay less in taxes than the bar brawler or the automobile operator? Many people with alarms will never require police assistance for anything else in their lives. Do they not have the right to expect some level of service?

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