North Carolina City to Launch New Alarm Program


The city of Greenville, N.C., plans to launch an alarm registration program Oct. 1 aimed at reducing false dispatches, according to a newspaper report.

The program, which is made possible by an ordinance passed in May by the City Council, requires users of residential and commercial burglar and security alarms to register the systems with the police department.

Beginning with a second false alarm, the alarm-system user faces a fine, Maj. Kevin Smeltzer, head of the police department’s new False Alarm Reduction Unit, told the Daily Reflector.

The police department says officers respond to about 7,000 false alarms per year. In 2006, officers spent about 1,100 hours of their time responding to false alarms, the newspaper reported. The estimated cost for those calls totaled $62,451.

Besides the dollars involved, Smeltzer told the newspsper the calls unnecessarily endanger the lives of the responding officers as well as the public, take police away from true emergency calls, and take a toll on equipment.

Annual permits cost $15 for the first year and can be renewed for $5.

The fine for the second false alarm for a permitted system in a given permit year is $25; the third and fourth false alarms – $50 each; fifth and sixth – $100 each; seventh and eighth – $200 each; ninth and beyond – $400 each.

False alarms from a nonpermitted system will be assessed an additional $200 penalty.

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