Higher fines lead to fewer false alarm calls

Higher fines lead to fewer false alarm calls
Updated: Aug. 24, 2018 at 6:14 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - City of Memphis said a crackdown on false alarms is keeping more police on the streets instead of checking out bogus calls.

"Alarm companies, when they get an alarm, they call it in and it adds to our manpower load," City of Memphis COO Doug McGowen said in February of 2017.

City statistics from 2016 showed Memphis Police Department received more than 62,000 alarm calls from homes and businesses and 99.2 percent of them were false.

The city said the lost labor amounted to spending of $1.7 million--the equivalent of 31 officers.

In 2017, the city received more than 52,000 calls, and from July 1, 2018 to August 23, 2018--the permit year runs from July 1 to June 30--the city received 6,781, which is down from 9,095 during the same time frame in 2017.

City leaders blamed a lax false alarm ordinance for the high number of false alarms. Under the old ordinance, citizens got three free false alarm calls, a $25 fine after the fourth one, and a revoked permit after the eighth.

Memphis City Council changed the ordinance to toughen it up.

In July 2017, fees increased to $140 for the third time police have to respond and each one after that. Fees for false fire alarms after the first time hit $300.

City officials said they've seen a 20 percent drop in false alarm calls since the ordinance went into effect, but they said home and business owners play a part too.

You should make sure windows and doors are shut before turning the system on, keep pets away from motion detectors, and make sure alarm batteries are in good working condition.

If a crime is committed on the property, the city said you will have to submit proof to the Metro Alarms office like video footage, pictures, or a police report.

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