Fines set for false burglar alarms in PTC
In an effort to free up police manpower, Peachtree City has approved new rules that could lead to fines for multiple false burglar alarm calls at a given residence or business.
Under the ordinance the first two false alarms are free, and the third can be free if the system owner takes an online course.
The move is in response to a staggering number of false burglar alarms. In 2010, the department responded to 2,707 burglar alarms. Only one had indicated an actual crime had occurred, according to Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark.
The ordinance requires that all alarm users give two phone numbers where a responsible party can be reached. Those two calls must be made before an officer is dispatched to the scene.
Individuals and businesses will be required to register their burglar alarm systems with the city. The police department will send registration notices to the addresses where they have responded to false alarm calls in the past, Clark noted.
Councilman Eric Imker wanted the city to dump the registration process, but it was argued that without the registrations, the ordinance would be ineffective.
City Manager Jim Pennington said he once worked in a community that passed such an ordinance without the registrations, but it didn’t last long because it could not be enforced.
Imker suggested that a hacker could get the registration information from the city’s computer system.
After noting that the two-call “enhanced notification system” could be enacted without the other restrictions, Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch cast the lone vote against the new ordinance, which was approved 4-1.
Clark said he’s hopeful that educating alarm operators will help cut down the false alarms tremendously, since many false alarms are due to operator error.