Posted 10:15 PM 6/4/2012 : False alarm ordinance is in effect for Tucson
TUCSON - Tucson home and business owners are making some noise over the City of Tucson's new false alarm ordinance, the $20 annual fee and costly fines that come with it.
The City Council passed the measure at the end of February. It took effect officially April 1st, but enforcement was delayed 60 days to give security system owners time to register.
That grace period ended on Friday. Now unregistered alarm owners face fines for false alarms.
Those not registered will be billed higher false alarm fees, starting at $100.
For some homeowners and businesses who rarely, if ever, have false alarms, opting out may be the better option according to an alarm company News 4 talked to.
At Advanced Protechtion Systems they're sending out letters to customers, letting them know, that you can opt out.
Owner Eric Aultman says, "We are going to provide immediate response through a private guard service."
Aultman says by hiring a private security service for his customers he'll bill them $25 per response, versus the $100 the City would charge.
"They got themselves in trouble and decided to pay for their budget gap on the backs of my customers," says Aultman.
City leaders admittedly hope to recoup losses from budget cuts.
The ordinance is also intended to reduce the number of false alarms, ensuring that police are responding to actual burglaries.
Here's the breakdown:
Those who are registered, pay an annual fee of $20, their first false alarm fee is waved.
If there's a second, there's a $100 fee but it can be waved by taking an Alarm User Awareness class.
Those not registered will be billed higher fees starting at $100.
Enchanted Dragon Tattoo is one business opting out.
Owner Robert Tackett says, "If the alarm goes off, I can pull up any one of our locations in or out of Tucson."
A fancy camera system allows him to see false alarms or actual criminal activity and decide for himself if police should be dispatched.
"Last month I had an incident where our front door was broken, so I was able to make the call," Tackett said.
Some alarm company owners worry the ordinance will be bad for business, fearing folks won't buy their systems anymore.
Meantime, we put a call into Tucson Police to see if during the past 60 days the ordinance grace period, they've seen a decrease in false alarms. News 4 was told the officer who handles alarm related questions will be back in the office Tuesday and can fill us in then.
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