Ohio town to charge for false alarms

BEAVERCREEK - Residents and business owners with burglar alarms get out the instructions and keep them handy in case yours decides to "Cry Wolf."

Starting Oct. 1, the Beavercreek Police Department will charge for false alarms to cut down on unnecessary call outs and recoup those costs. City Council members adopted the ordinance in June.

There is no fee for the first three false alarms, but after that the charge is $50 for the fourth, $100 for the fifth and $200 for each additional false alarm.

Homes and businesses with more than 12 false alarms in one year will be asked to disconnect the systems, according to police. Systems also could be ordered disconnected if fines are not paid within 30 days.

The new rule is needed because most of the alarms officers respond to are false, costing valuable resources and adding to what Crime Prevention Specialist John Williams called the "Cry Wolf" syndrome.

Williams authored and administered Dayton's false alarm program from 1980-82.

In 2007, Beavercreek police responded to 2,230 alarm calls, 647 residences and 1,583 business, most of which were false. It costs the department about $100 to send two officers to each call, Williams said.

The new rule, put in place by council at the recommendation of Police Chief John Turner, also calls for the licensing of alarms and companies that sell and install alarms.

Alarm owners can license theirs for free, but alarm vendors must pay a $150 annual registration fee.

Jarrod Martin was the only council member to vote against the ordinance. Martin said he doubted the measure's effectiveness and felt it was unnecessary "big government."

"It's almost like a user fee," he said. "People pay a good amount in taxes and police protection is one thing they pay taxes for.

"It was a little too much like big brother for me."