Marietta City Council enacted a city ordinance designed to reduce false alarms requiring a police response July 11. The ordinance, effective October 1, requires alarm users to register with the city. Users will be allowed up to two false alarms without penalty a year, and then fines will be assessed.
“The new ordinance will be a great asset to us in terms of freeing up literally thousands of police man-hours,” police chief Dan Flynn said. “This will enable us to devote more time to proactive crime fighting and crime prevention activities.”
Why it is needed
In 2006, the Marietta Police Department responded to 9,317 alarm calls. In answering alarm calls, it is standard police protocol for two officers to respond. Of the alarms dispatched in 2006, 98.6 percent were false alarms. This resulted in 3,882 man-hours dealing with false alarms. In monetary terms, those man-hours equate to $135,872.
How alarms will be tracked
Under the ordinance, every residential and business alarm user in the city of Marietta must obtain a free permit from the city. The permit registers an alarm system with the city for tracking purposes, and permits are not transferable. Each new occupant of a dwelling or business must apply for a new permit, and failure to register an alarm is subject to a $100 fine.
When effective, the ordinance will allow alarm users up to two false alarms each 12-month period with no penalty. Beginning with the third false alarm, fines will be assessed as follows:
- First and second false alarm: no charge
- Third through fifth false alarm: $50
- Sixth false alarm: $100
- Seventh false alarm: $100
- Eighth false alarm: $250
- Ninth false alarm: $250
- Tenth and over false alarm: $500
- Failure to register: $100
Violations of the ordinance are civil in nature and will not constitute a misdemeanor or criminal charge. There will also be an appeals process for alarm users who receive fines for false alarms.
To prepare businesses and residential alarm users for the new ordinance, the Marietta Police Department will offer an awareness class to educate users on the problems created by false alarms and how to help reduce false alarms. The class may be attended in lieu of paying one false alarm fine.
For more information, contact the Marietta Police Department at 770-794-2364.