California town to outsource alarm system program

The city of Santa Maria, Calif., is privatizing its alarm system program due to an increase in false alarms that have placed a significant financial strain on the city.

According to published reports, the Santa Maria City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to turn the program over to Texas-based PMAM Corp., which will now be responsible for collecting fees and contacting offenders of the city’s alarm ordinance.

Of the 4,400 alarms city police responded to in 2008, a large majority of them were reportedly false and cost taxpayers an estimated $150,000 in wasted resources.

The city also decided to institute a new fee for false alarms, voting to charge residents and business owners $83.40 for any fourth or subsequent false alarm within a 12-month period.