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Decision on fines for security system false alarms tabled by PTC Council

The Peachtree City Council has put the brakes, temporarily, on an ordinance to fine property owners or tenants who have more than

three false burglar alarms a year.

City Manager Jim Pennington told council Thursday night that while he is in favor of the ordinance, he has come across some new information

that needs to be considered before council makes a final decision.

The matter will be discussed again at the May 19 council meeting.

The ordinance calls for a $50 fine for the third, fourth and fifth false alarms, escalating to $100 for the sixth and seventh, $250 for the eighth and ninth, and $500 for any false alarms beyond that amount.

An alarm system owner can also be held accountable for not registering his or her system, with a fine of $100.

The ordinance could potentially free up an additional 600 to 900 hours of available manpower if the city were to realize a reduction of false alarm calls between 40 and 60 percent, according to the memo to council from Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark.

The ordinance would allow for the alarm system’s owner to complete an online alarm user awareness class in lieu of a fine for no more than once each year.

The ordinance would require all alarm system owners to register with the city by Oct. 1, though the city would charge no fee. It also requires certain system maintenance and use standards.



I understand the concept that PTC's finest responding to false alarms costs the taxpayers money. I have no problem with folks that have several false alarms being charged a fine. However, a review of the proposed ordinance has revealed a few issues of concern. The proposed ordinance may be found starting on page 47 of the following document:

Section 50-101 (a) stipulates that “…no alarm system shall be used unless the alarm user first obtains a permit for such alarm system from the city.”

This seems to be a bit of an over-reach by the city.

First: Since all the information required by the responding police should be in the possession of the Security System Monitoring Service, it seems an unnecessary government intrusion to have a permit system.

Second: While the permit process is billed as “no fee imposed” when the first registration takes place, it is probably unrealistic to believe that this will remain a “no fee imposed” situation. It is going to require someone in the PTC government to process and organize this information. Paperwork is being generated and it costs money to move it around.

Section 50-102 (c) mandates that the Alarm System Owner “…Respond or cause a representative to respond to the alarm system’s location within thirty (30) minutes upon notification of the need to deactivate a malfunctioning alarm system; to provide right of entry to the premises, or to provide alternative security for the premises…”

First: A thirty minute response time when I’m out of the city/state/country seems a bit impractical.

Second: A “representative” would probably be a neighbor that has been kind enough to “keep an eye on the place” while the owner is absent. It seems a bit much to ask this Good Samaritan to be able to respond in 30 minutes “or else”. Furthermore, I am assuming that this “representative” is supposed to be listed on the permit itself. How does the owner of a residence – as opposed to a business – determine which of his/her neighbors will be available to respond to the demands of this ordinance up to a full year in advance of the owner’s departure?

There are some other issues – primarily regarding the cost of the program – that are not really addressed in the ordinance.

My main issue is the requirement for a city permit in order to have an Alarm System in my home. I sincerely believe that whatever information is needed by the Police Department to investigate an alarm should be able to be provided by the Alarm Monitoring Service.

I see the proposed permit process as an unnecessary additional burden on the home owner.

What can be the harm of requiring a permit?
The rule of unintended consequences need look no farther than the Peachtree City ordinance that required Golf Carts to be registered. This was touted as a no-cost ordinance also …and then the following year’s Fayette County Property Tax Bill showed up with an assessment for the value of the Golf Cart.

Scott Bosecker

BHH's picture

I don't live in PTC but have an opinion on this because the county loves to follow suit with almost anything that the city managers get away with.

I have a home alarm system in Brooks city limits. I also have an alarm at my business in Clayton county.

Clayton county has a similar ordinance that I have been affected by.

I am a retired Dekalb county firefighter.

These alarm systems are sometimes over sensitive and can be adjusted by the owner if properly educated. The monitoring companies and installers love to initiate these system as sensitive as possible for sales purposes, but they need not be set to be so sensitive to noises and movement.

It is in fact the job of fire and/or police to respond to legitimate alarms They can't always determine if the the alarm was in fact legitimate, so they call it a false alarm or faulty alarm when most times the system is working properly as set up.

It is aggravating to respond to the same location over and over for what appears to be no reason so some required parameters need to be in place.

These alarms typically activate during bad weather due to power outage or just flickering power. This is a legitimate alarm because the owners need to be notified of power outages but not necessarily initiate a response by police or fire, because the city or county is quickly overwhelmed by the multitude of calls at these times. the alarm monitoring service and the owner should use discretion to determine if the authorities should respond.

If the owner or appointee cannot be reached then my opinion is that the authorities are paid to be their next contact. The responding officer should be required to use discretion before deeming any call a false call.

In Clayton county I have an agreement with the alarm company to not respond the police unless there are 2 or more indicators of a breach to the building.

Any indication of smoke or fire should initiate a response.

If an owner is out of town then someone should be ready to secure the property for them in case of emergency.

The idea of registration seems over bearing but should only be used to educate the owners.

The fines in this case seem extreme and are probably not needed. A stern warning should be effective in PTC.


They bring up things..and..... table them.

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