Southern California City to Impose Fines for False Alarms


Residents and businesses in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (about 25 miles northwest of Los Angeles), who have more than two false alarm incidents will face increased fines for each subsequent offense.

The ordinance is in response to police having to respond to burglary alarm calls that turn out to be false alarms 99.6 percent of the time, according to the Ventura County Star.

As of July 1, the police department will respond to two false alarm incidents free of charge. The third and fourth false responses will cost $100 and $200, respectively. Each subsequent false alarm incident will carry a $500 price tag, the newspaper reported.

Last year, police responded to 2,910 false alarm calls. That works out to 954 work-hours for the Police Department.

Thousand Oaks isn’t the only city in the region that has looked for ways to cut down on false alarms. Two neighboring cities, however, specifically targeted businesses.

Camarillo cut its false alarms at businesses more than 15 percent in 2004, after implementing a policy that called for a $100 fine for businesses that have more than three false alarms in a year, the newspaper reported.

In 2004, Camarillo officers responded to 1,735 false alarms at businesses, compared with 2,056 in 2003.

If a burglar alarm sounds at a business that has been identified as having chronic false alarms, Simi Valley police will broadcast it over the radio. If any cars are close, drivers will check it out. If there is verified suspicious behavior, police will respond.

At businesses without chronic problems, two cars are dispatched, if two cars are available, based upon what other calls police are dealing with.

Thousand Oaks police suggest that residents and businesses with alarm systems properly train all people who might use the systems on how they work, particularly how to cancel false alarms. The police department also suggests that all doors and windows be secured and locked before arming the systems.

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