Columbus Takes ‘Three-Strikes’ Approach to Collecting False Alarm Fines


The central Ohio city of Columbus is using California’s “three-strikes” law for criminal offenders as a model for how it collects its false-alarm fees. Columbus, dealing with a lack of false-alarm offenders paying their fines, will now give those who owe fees “three strikes” before they initiate a lawsuit against the alarm user.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, alarm owners currently owe the city more than $600,000 in false alarm fines.

An alarm owner that owes the city $200 or more will be getting the first of three warning letters this month that they have 30 days to pay their outstanding fines. If there is no payment within 30 days or a payment schedule isn’t set up, the alarm user will get a second warning letter informing them that a hearing has been scheduled with the city’s License section.

If the alarm user still doesn’t pay, they will get a “third strike” letter informing them that a lawsuit against them has been filed

Columbus quadrupled its false alarm fees in 2003.

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