Proposed Bill Permits Long Island Police to Ignore False Alarms


The Nassau County (Long Island) legislature is considering passing a bill that would keep owners of unregistered burglar alarm systems from receiving police assistance in the event of an alarm, according to a newspaper report.

The bill is intended to help eliminate the wasteful practice of dispatching police officers to false alarms, which costs the county an estimated $4.5 million, according to Newsday. Of the 115,000 alarm responses in 2005, more than 114,300 were false, or 99.4 percent.

The bill would affect even registered burglar alarms. The three-year permit required for registration would still cost $75 for homes and $100 for businesses, but fines for false alarms issued by registered systems, whether in residential or commercial applications, would increase dramatically. According to Newsday, the fines would begin at $25 for the fifth false alarm and could go up as high as $100 for the 10th. The permit would be revoked after the 10th alarm within the same one-year period. An alarm user who fails to pay the fine within 10 days also faces permit revocation. For unregistered users, false alarm fines would begin at $100 if they fail to obtain a permit within 30 days.

If the county legislature were to pass the bill, an owner of a registered alarm system would be expected to give his or her permit number to the monitoring alarm company, who would then use it to notify police if the alarm at the owner’s residence or business should sound, according to the report.

Currently, Nassau alarm owners are allowed up to four free false alarms in a three-month period. The owner is liable to have his or her permit revoked if a fifth alarm should occur within the same period.

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