False Alarm Update: Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Wichita


The long process of finalizing a new alarm ordinance for
Los Angeles continues, though a councilwoman has won a
concession that would allow amnesty for false alarm
violators who buy or renew their alarm permits. The new
ordinance – which would charge alarm customers $115 for a
first false alarm and an additional $50 added on to that
for each additional false alarm – has remained under
discussion by city council committees since an initial
approval by the city’s Public Safety Committee on April

The Daily Breeze says the ordinance is expected to
go before the Los Angeles City Council next month, though a
city clerk gave Security Sales & Integration a two-
week timeframe back in
and the ordinance has remained in committee

The alarm ordinance debate is the long conclusion to the
long debate over verified response in Los Angeles that
began in April 2002 that has included several starts and
delays. A temporary policy went into effect in January of
this year where Los Angeles police no longer respond to
alarms at addresses with more than two false alarms unless
they have been verified by someone at the location or
through remote electronic visual inspection.

That policy has remained in effect pending council debate
of the new ordinance, which incorporates it. After
reporting an initial drop in false alarm calls because of
the new police, police officials now say any drop has
leveled off and remains at 97 percent of alarm calls.

In committee action last week, Councilwoman Janice Hahn, a
longtime opponent of a verified response policy, won a
concession that created the amnesty for alarm users in the
proposed ordinance. An alarm user facing a false alarm fine
can have it waived by purchasing or renewing the $30 alarm
permit. “Besides reducing false alarms, the (ordinance’s)
other goal is to make sure that everyone who has a burglar
alarm has a permit,” Hahn told the
Breeze. “Apparently there are a lot of people who
(owe fines) for false alarms that they haven’t paid, and
this seems like a good time to bring a lot of people into
the system.”

In other false alarm news:

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif.: The coastal suburb of Los
Angeles has enacted what amounts to a true no-response
policy, where Manhattan Beach police and fire departments
will ignore calls to homes where a certain number of false
alarms have occurred, according to the Breeze.

In a unanimous vote, the Manhattan Beach City Council
approved a new city law Aug. 3 to allow the agencies to
stop automatically responding to any alarm system that has
registered more than six false police alarms or three false
fire alarms in one year.

There will also be a new fines that have yet to be
determines and mandatory attendance at an “alarm school”
for those who have alarms without a city permit.

LaPORTE COUNTY, Ind.: Injuries to a deputy
responding to a false alarm call has the county in
Northwest Indiana considering tougher measures against
false alarm abusers.

The Post-Tribune reports deputy Steven Pearce was
racing to respond to what proved to be an accidentally
tripped alarm when he swerved to avoid an incoming vehicle
and slammed into a tree. Pearce was treated for cuts and
bruises at a hospital and released while the squad car
sustained $25,000 in damage.

Sheriff’s department spokesman Maj. Gary Broling says more
than 95 percent of the alarms in the county are
accidentally tripped. “We’re going to discuss how we want
them to respond,” Broling told the Tribune.

WICHITA, Kansas:The Wichita City Council unanimously
approved a budget Aug. 10 that includes increased false
alarm fees.

The budget, approved unanimously without public discussion,
increased the false alarm fees from $28 to $40 for silent
alarms and from $40 to $50 for panic alarms. Alarm users
won’t be charged for a first false alarm offense.

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