Arundel County (Md.) to Penalize Repeated False Alarms


In Maryland, Anne Arundel County police will start fining homeowners and businesses for repeated false alarms beginning in August under a new bill signed into law.

The law aims to cut down on the time officers spend responding to false alarms. In 2008, Arundel police received 31,206 alarm calls; in only 230 of those instances was an actual crime taking place, county officials say. According to police statistics, false alarms resulted in 8,582 hours of wasted manpower last year.

“This alarm law is going to tremendously help use the officers’ time more appropriately, which will greatly enhance both public safety and officer safety,” county Police Chief Col. James Teare Sr. said during a news conference at the Police Department’s Southern District headquarters.

The Baltimore Sun reported the law requires home and business owners to register their alarm systems with county police; registration is free. Alarm holders are allowed two false alarms in a 12-month period. The third and fourth false alarms would result in $50 fines and the fifth a $75 fine, with incremental increases up to $250.

Cpl. Richard Colmus of the county police department’s crime prevention unit told the newspaper that officers had lobbied lawmakers in the late 1990s for legislation. The county had been operating under a state statute that gives officers the authority to issue a $30 civil citation for three or more false alarms within 30 days. But the civil citations required officers to go to court, taking them off the street, Colmus said.

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