Southern California City OKs Fines for False Alarms

EL MONTE, Calif.

A new law in El Monte, Calif., located near Los Angeles, requires all business or homeowners with alarm systems to obtain an alarm permit through City Hall and pay a $25 registration fee.

While allowing three false dispatches, the law imposes a $100 fine for a fourth false alarm and $125 penalty for a fifth offense, according to a report in the Whittier Daily News. A sixth infraction will cost owners $150.

City officials pursued the ordinance with hopes to reduce the amount of false alarms El Monte police officers respond to each year. The police responded to 4,592 alarm calls in 2006, with 3,447 being false alarms, according to Shannon Nurre, the department’s communications manager.

“All burglary alarms require two officers to respond, and a robbery alarm requires a minimum of three officers and a supervisor,” Nurre, who supervises the department’s dispatchers and the new alarm program, told the newspaper. “In some instances, a helicopter and canine unit respond and an average of 30 minutes is spent on each false alarm.”

Nurre said the department is working to educate the public about the new law by having alarm companies notify all of their customers in the city about the registration process.

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