City News

Posted on: April 13, 2016

ALARMS: Changes to ordinance designed to reduce false alarm calls

Police Car

FARMERS BRANCH ~ With eight valid alarm calls last year, out of 3,059 responded to by the Police Department, the Farmers Branch City Council has approved changes to the local alarm ordinance, designed to keep officers on the street and away from false alarm calls.

Farmers Branch Police Chief Sid Fuller said the invalid alarm call rate of 99.74 percent is worse than the already bad national average of 98 percent. False alarms tax police resources, cause longer response time because officers are unavailable and take away from proactive or self-initiated policing activities.

The revised ordinance is designed to free officers from so many false alarm calls. Features include increasing false alarm fees in excess of three to $50 with a fee that increases to $75 upon the sixth false alarm and $100 each for eight or more false alarms in a 12 month period. The old fee structure is $50 for more than five false alarms in a year's time.

In addition, as data indicates more than 70 percent of false alarms come from businesses, the new ordinance increases commercial alarm permits from $30 to $100 to mitigate the cost. Residential alarm permits will remain $30.

Chief Fuller said the new ordinance allows for the revocation of an alarm permit after eight or more false alarms in any 12 month period and the ability for police to not respond to a business location where an alarm permit has been revoked, unless there is independent verification that a crime has occurred or is occurring. Police will continue to respond to all residential alarm calls.

For more information, contact the Farmers Branch Police Department at 972.484.3620.

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