False Alarm Update: Fort Worth, Kansas City, Delaware


A “no permit, no response” alarm ordinance plan has been
approved by the Fort Worth, Texas, City Council and will go
into affect on Jan. 1. The 6-2 council vote on Nov. 18
means that for the start of 2004, Fort Worth police will
not respond to security alarms at homes and businesses that
do not hold valid city permits.

At the same time, the annual price of the permits has
doubled to $50 and there will be a $50 fine for false
alarms, though the law will allow five false alarms before
the fine is assessed. The council had backed off an earlier
proposal that would have put a verified response policy
into law. “The public told us they didn’t want us to go to
verified response,” Councilman Chuck Silcox told the
Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “The bottom line is they
wanted this security.”

Councilman Clyde Picht, one of two members of the council
to vote against the bill, told the Star-Telegram
that residents who don’t contribute to the city’s false
alarm problem are being penalized for those who do. “We
always raise fees on the public,” Picht said. “We’re
ripping off the customers.”

Fort Worth alarm system owners without a permit can obtain
one by calling the Fort Worth Police Department’s alarms
unit at (817) 922-3233. All current permits will remain
valid through the expiration date listed on the permit.

In other false alarm news:

KANSAS CITY, Mo.: Like Fort Worth, Kansas City is
switching to a “no permit, no response” plan to reduce
false alarms. Unlike Fort Worth, the plan isn’t being put
to a council vote.

Kansas City police announced Nov. 18 that as of Dec. 1 they
will no longer respond to alarms at addresses that do not
have a valid city permit. Police say, however, that the new
policy was actually put into effect by a 1997 city
ordinance that said officers will not respond to alarm
calls without a permit. Only now will that ordinance be
fully enforced.

Nell Mathews, operations manager for Atronic Alarms Inc.,
told The Kansas City Star that she understands the
reasons for the change but still worries that alarm owners
will be left unprotected.

“The problem I see is with a new homeowner who just moved
in, and because of the sale and other things, hasn’t filled
out the paperwork. What if there is an actual alarm?”
Mathews said. “I know the police have to have standards to
prevent false alarms, but home and business owners should
have the opportunity to make it right.”

DELAWARE: After an effort to become the first state
government to levy fines for false alarms failed in June,
Delaware state officials say they are going to try to pass
a statewide ordinance again in January. Unlike the last
time, the alarm industry appears to be lining up behind the
new bill.

A legislative task force has come up with a plan where
alarm owners would be allowed three false alarms per year
with no penalty.

The fourth false alarm would carry a $50 fine; the fifth a
$75 fine; the sixth a $100 fine; and the seventh and
subsequent alarms would carry a $250 fine.

The Delaware Alarm Association, instrumental in stopping
the previous bill, has expressed its support for the new
bill according to the The News Journal of
Wilmington, Del.

The bill also recommends the banning of automated systems
that send alarms directly to police, a one-time state fee
for new alarm owners to register their systems and a
requirement that alarm owners provide companies with at
least two contacts to reach in case of an alarm. The
proposal would cover rural areas and communities that do
not have 24-hour police departments. The program would be
optional for bigger communities.

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Commercial Integrator + Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add to your bottom line.

A FREE subscription to the top resource for security and integration industry will prove to be invaluable.

Subscribe Today!

Get Our Newsletters