Burleson Passes New Burglar Alarm Ordinance

First change in more than 20 years paves way for alarm reduction and continued police response


BURLESON, Texas – The City of Burleson approved a new alarm ordinance tonight preserving police response while aggressively cutting dispatches to false alarms. The new ordinance tracks a new state law that allows cities to charge higher fees for alarm permits and higher fines for alarm users who generate multiple false alarms.

"Burleson is replacing an ordinance that is over two decades old and has been ineffective in reducing false dispatches," said Chris Russell, President of the North Texas Alarm Association. "The NTAA believes the new ordinance with stiffer fines and permit revocation for false alarm abusers will be major factors in accomplishing the Mayor's goal of reducing total alarms by 50-percent over the next 12 months."

Several alarm users, according to police records, have over 50 alarm dispatches with no evidence of a crime. "This new ordinance," continued Russell, "is designed to either force resolution of the problem or remove their privilege of police response. This is a no-nonsense ordinance."

Another important aspect of the new ordinance is cost recovery. Permit fees will increase and fines for false alarm abusers will rise. "This issue was triggered by the cost of police response to alarms. The value of police resources is now respected in this new ordinance," said Russell.

The Burleson program will include additional efforts by police and the alarm industry by adding a public information program and alarm user classes to educate consumers about the importance of properly utilizing alarm systems to curtail unnecessary police dispatches. "The City Council is to be commended for utilizing the best available practices in reducing alarm calls to police," continued Russell, "We are pleased to be partners with a city that is keeping police response to citizens along with using effective tools to reduce false dispatches."

Under the new ordinance alarm companies will ensure alarm users have done the following:

• Obtain an alarm permit before installing/activating an alarm system

• Have information about local and state laws concerning alarm systems

• Install/activate alarm systems adhering to state and local installation requirements Not request dispatch during first seven days after install/activation

• Call at least two different phone numbers before requesting dispatch

In addition, alarm companies will do the following themselves:

• Contact alarm users who are generating dispatches to false alarms

• Participate in system performance reviews required by Alarm Administrator

• Complete a service call or additional training to resolve a false alarm issue

• Not request dispatch when notified that an alarm permit has been revoked

• Joint presentation with police department to citizens in a rollout of the ordinance as well as an alarm user school

• Assist Alarm Administrator with future alarm schools if he/she feels they are necessary

• Customer notifications about the revised ordinance

• Assist the police department in populating their new database by providing them with alarm user location information

• Industry – wide communication to ensure as many alarm companies know about the revised ordinance as possible

The new ordinance will not only reduce total alarm dispatches but will also help Burleson with cost recovery for administration and response to alarms. Fees for alarms permits will be renewable every January with a residential fee of $50.00 and a commercial alarm fee of $100.00.

In addition to the new alarm fees, new fines will be imposed for false alarm abusers. Alarm users will be allowed three "free" false dispatches. After the 3rd false dispatch, fines will be imposed from $50.00 up to $100.00. After 10 false dispatches, police may revoke the permit and have the option to stop responding.

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