New Alarm Ordinance Reduces Number of False Alarms and Ensuing Revenues


The city of Little Rock enacted a new false alarm ordinance
that took effect Jan. 1 and is credited with reducing the
number of alarms to which the police and fire department
respond. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,
city police responded to 3,718 false burglar alarms from
January through July. This is 7,343 fewer than the year

At an assumed cost of $96 for a false alarm, as estimated by the city of Little Rock, the paper estimates that the city has saved about $705,000 thus far because of the recent changes in its false alarm policy. But, according to the paper, the average cost of a false alarm in 1998, according to a U.S. Dept. of Justice study, was $42. Thus, according to Justice figures, the adjusted savings would be $308,000. Either way, the actions taken by city officials have apparently made a difference.

The first three false alarms in a 12-month period are free, but the maximum false alarm fine was increased from $96 to $200. The city also added a mandate that requires alarm owners to register their systems with the city.

Alarm firms are also allowed to make two phone calls to the subscriber to verify an alarm signal. If the subscriber cancels the call while police are on the way, the subsequent false alarm fine is discounted. Fire and emergency calls are to be handled as usual, immediately dispatching the appropriate service.

The downside associated with this type of false alarm prevention program is also a reduction in fine money collected. In this case, the city of Little Rock collected about half of what it did seven months into the program last year, or $67,000 in 2006 vs. $122,010 for the same period in 2005.

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