Metro Atlanta County Tries to Cut Down False Alarms

Facing what they described as a high percentage of false burglar and fire alarms in Henry County, Ga., the Henry County Commissioners have approved an ordinance that will raise the fines charged for false burglar and fire alarms. The implementation date for the ordinance is not yet determined.

According to a report in the Henry Herald, the county police responded to 1,600-plus false burglar alarms and the county fire department responded to 954 false fire alarms. The Herald reported that false alarms that stemmed from severe weather were not counted in the numbers.

The previous ordinance charged alarm owners only after four false alarms ($25 for fourth, $50 for fifth, $100 for sixth, seventh or eighth), but the new ordinance is not so forgiving. The third false alarm at a residence now nets a $50 fine, with fines increasing for the fourth ($75) and fifth and additional false alarms ($100). Commercial false alarms feature a much steeper fee schedule. The third false alarm will cost $200, fourth is $225, and fifth and additional false alarms will cost $250.

In addition, alarm owners must register their systems within 10 days of activation. Those alarm owners who do not register their alarms will not have the grace periods that registered alarm owners receive. On their first false alarm, unregistered residential alarm owners are charged $75. That fee increases to $100 for the second and increases to $125 for any additional false alarms. Commercial accounts cost more: $250 for first, $275 for second, $300 for additional false alarm calls.