Ga.'s Cobb Co. drops registration fee from proposal

No fee to register, but fines for false alarms still on table


Cobb County will drop a proposed $10 fee from a security alarm registration requirement it expects to approve next month.

"Before the next public hearing, Public Safety will change that, and there will be no registration fee," Commission Chairman Sam Olens said Tuesday night during the proposal's first public hearing.

With more than 38 million alarm systems in homes and businesses nationwide, the growing cost of responding to false alarms is moving governments toward finding ways to control the problem.

For a decade, many metro Atlanta governments have imposed fines for repeated false alarms. Marietta, Cobb County's largest city, went to an alarm registration requirement at the start of the year.

Like many other governments, the Cobb law, drafted by the Public Safety Department, proposes an increasing fine after the second false alarm. The 10th false alarm brings a $300 fine. The ordinance also carries a $100 fine for failing to register a home or business alarm system.

If an alarm system owner has more than 10 false alarms or fails to pay the fine, police will not respond to an alarm unless 911 is called or there is verified criminal activity, according to the proposal. The ordinance revision will be up for a vote on Feb. 26.

Of nearly 390,000 police dispatches in 2007, more than 42,000 --- 116 per day --- were false alarms from security systems, police Maj. Ronnie Prince said.