Peachtree City may soon be considering an ordinance aimed at reducing the amount of false burglar alarm calls.
Last year officers spent 1,511 hours dealing with false burglar alarm calls, Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark told the City Council at its retreat Friday.
That averages out to four hours and 13 minutes each day that an officer is tied up on a burglar alarm call that in many cases could have been prevented.
“It’s a significant waste of manpower hours responding to false alarms over and over again,” Clark said.
Many of the false alarms could be attributed to human error, an improperly working system or someone with an improper alarm code, Clark said.
Clark is proposing a system that would give businesses and homeowners two “free” burglar alarms per year, but after that a scale of fines would kick in:
• $50 each for the third through fifth false alarms;
• $100 each for the sixth and seventh false alarms;
• $250 each for the eighth and ninth false alarms; and
• $500 for each one over 10 for the year.
Had this fine structure been in place last year it would have raised $185,000, Clark said.
“The reason for us doing this is so we are not wasting time on false alarms, not for revenue,” Clark said. “But that’s what we would have had.”
The program would require citizens and companies to file for a burglar alarm permit so the city will have contact information on hand for someone to rectify the problem, Clark said.
Clark also said that burglar alarms do provide a service, but the data shows that only three last year led to any in-progress incidents and all three were for armed robberies.
Some 23 different locations each had at least 11 false burglar alarms during the year and accounted for 12.7 percent of the entire city’s false burglar alarms, according to police data. Among those were:
• Home Depot, 30
• McIntosh High School, 27
• El Ranchero (Crosstown Drive), 26
• Southern Motor Carriers, 22
• Booth Middle School, 17
• Mike and C’s, Rinnai, Rheumatology and Arthritis Group, 16 each
• Golf Rider, 14; and
• Another 14 locations with between 11 and 13 false alarms each.