Residents and businesses in Danville are being encouraged by town officials to register their residential or commercial alarms before an ordinance targeting false alarms takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.
The ordinance, which was approved in October, stipulates that fines can be assessed when a home or business alarm sends out a false signal. The ordinance will save the Danville Police Department $69,000 and 754 hours of work per year.
Town of Danville crime prevention specialist Mike Wells, citing national statistics, stated that 94 to 98 percent of alarms are false. According to a staff report, Danville Police responded to 2,297 burglar alarm calls in 2010, 98.5 percent of which were determined to be false alarms. Officers determined the remaining calls were triggered by unsecured doors or windows, making all alarm calls in 2010 unfounded.
Additionally, Danville Police received alarm calls from 175 different monitoring companies, but noted that the top five violators were businesses and schools. There were 1,043 different locations that reported false alarms during the year 2010, with each call accounting for approximately 20 minutes of police time.
"The Danville Police Department spends a considerable amount of time and resources responding to false alarms each year," the report read. "The Town of Danville's current false alarm ordinance is difficult to enforce, in part because the ordinance does not have a permit requirement for the alarm owner."
Wells said that the town will be working through the end of the year to educate residents and businesses about the ordinance, the need for registering alarm systems and the proper operation of alarm systems.
According to the ordinance, a warning letter will be issued for a first offense, a $50 fine will be issued for a second offense, tripling to
$150 for a third offense, with subsequent violations in the same year fined at $300 each.
Applications for alarm registration can be found on the town of Danville website.