Saying they’re fed up with false alarms, police and fire agencies from Sacramento to San Diego have begun issuing stiffer fines to businesses and residents whose security systems go off repeatedly for no reason, reports the Sacramento Bee. Beginning in October, Sacramento police will enforce a series of escalating fines up to $320 for companies and homes that trigger two or more false alarms in a year. Sacramento police no longer will automatically respond to burglary alarms. Instead, they will require that alarm-monitoring companies call two responsible parties at a home or business to confirm it is not a false alarm before alerting police dispatch.
“If they don’t reach anybody, they call us,” said Sacramento Police Capt. Jim Maccoun. “But they need to attempt those two calls.” The Sacramento Fire Department, starting in late September, will levy a $120 fine on homeowners and $240 on businesses for their third false alarm in a year. Further false fire alarms will trigger higher fines. San Diego, San Jose, and Los Angeles have false alarm policies. Locally, Folsom tightened its policy this week. Roseville, which has fines in place and recently shortened renewal periods for alarm permits, reports its false alarm numbers now are decreasing. Public safety agencies have dealt with high numbers of unwarranted or nuisance calls for years. But with budgets now bare bones, and layoffs a real threat, agencies are scouring for ways to cut costs and reduce wasted time. “It’s a huge issue,” Maccoun said. “It ties up officers, and it really takes away from 911 operators’ availability to take other calls.”