Danville PD recommends registering alarm systems before Jan. 1, 2012


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.

Bay City News Service contributed to this story.


Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

So the police have found another way to make money from the citizenry, crying that they cannot afford the time it takes to DO THEIR JOB?

I find it difficult to believe that 100% of all alarms were false. If an alarm scared off a burglar leaving a window or door ajar it would seem the alarm served its purpose. It is a sad statement on our police that they interpret the scene later as nothing but a false alarm.

Getting a permit to protect your private property seems unconstitutional at a minimum and I for one will not be registering. We can get rid of the police for all the good they don't do.

Like this comment
Posted by [removed]
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Dear Editor,

Security monitoring is a very private matter and even police should not have knowledge of how your system works. The options today with telephone/internet linkage lets a security system call its owner via mobile phone, tablets and other personal devices. The further option is a secondary contact number that provides for the absence of the owner's contact. With such contact, there are no false alarms caused by monitoring calling the police.

The owner or alternate decides, after listening to their home if the police should be called. Quite often a quick call to a neighbor solves the reality that it is a false alarm.

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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Blackhawk
on Dec 5, 2011 at 7:43 am

This is absolutely absurd. With the amount of money this town wastes on various projects every day they're concerned about common safety response that every other police department in the nation addresses without complaint? The irony is the town will somehow spend $200k to implement this new resident education program.

This will back fire on them. 100%

Like this comment
Posted by Danville Resident
a resident of Danville
on Dec 6, 2011 at 6:29 am

What purpose does "registering your alarm" serve? Phone calls and emails in to the Town of Danville about this have gone unanswered. Can anyone else provide an answer for me, or is there a charge for that too?

Like this comment
Posted by Chris
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 6, 2011 at 9:56 am

Tom - What a crybaby. Get rid of the police? Really?? "For all the good they don't do"? I'm sure you'll feel that way about them if they ever have to come to your rescue. Geez, give them a break! While I agree that registering your alarm system is a waste of time, the point here is that the police spend a significant amount of time responding to false alarms. Don't you think that having an alarm system comes with the responsibility of knowing how to use it and making sure it's set properly? I think you should shut your piehole, get in your Hummer, and move to Oakland, where the sad reality of not having enough cops on the street is brutally apparent. Oh, and by the way, you live in Alamo. Danville PD couldn't care less what happens with your alarm.

Like this comment
Posted by Geoff Gillette
a resident of Danville
on Dec 6, 2011 at 10:08 am

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

Good morning,
Since there have been some questions asked regarding the permits and the ordinance, I thought I’d post some information to clarify things a bit.

1) First and foremost, the ordinance and the permitting are intended to help with the most efficient utilization of police resources that we can manage. In 2010, the Danville Police Department responded to a total of 2,297 burglar alarm calls. Of this total, 2,264 calls (98.5%) were determined to be false alarms. Of the remaining 33 calls, the responding officers determined that an unsecure door or window had triggered the alarm, but no crime had been committed. There are some buildings in Town that have upwards of 75 false alarms each year. Our hope is that by bringing some awareness to the issue situations like that will be less likely to occur.

2) This is not a revenue generation operation. The fines are in the ordinance in the event that residents or businesses continue to have high rates of false alarms rather than working on the problem. I asked Chief Steve Simpkins about this and he said, “If we don’t make a single penny off of this ordinance, then it is working.” In addition, the fines in the updated ordinance are lower than in the original ordinance the Town already had in place.

3) Nowhere on the permit application does it require any working knowledge of an individual’s alarm system or any activation/deactivation codes. All that is asked for are primary and secondary contact numbers in the event an alarm is activated.

4) Every city and county has an ordinance of this type. Again it is designed to help Police provide the best service they can.
Our hope is that by calling attention to the false alarms and encouraging residents and businesses to make sure their facilities are secure the number of those types of calls will decrease, allowing officers to spend more time on the roads patrolling and answering calls for service.

One post said that calls and e-mails were not responded to. I am not aware of any calls with questions regarding this issue. I apologize for any calls that were missed.

We try very hard to respond to every call or e-mail as expeditiously as possible.

Any further questions, please feel free to contact me or Crime Prevention Specialist Mike Wells. He can be reached at (925) 314-3707 or

Thanks and have a great day!

Geoff Gillette
Public Information Coordinator
Town of Danville
(925) 314-3336

Like this comment
Posted by Julie
a resident of Danville
on Dec 6, 2011 at 10:45 am

So charge the people that have 75 false alarms, or even 5 or 10, by all means, but charging for the second offense? Really? When our alarm started malfunctioning, it took 2 false alarms before we realized there was something wrong with the system. Under this ordinance, we will have to disable our alarm after 1 false alarm or risk a fine if it happened again. That's not serving the people of Danville well in my opinion. Honest citizens should not be penalized for 2 mistakes per year.

And how is having a contact number going to help? My alarm company already tries my contact numbers first before calling the police. So are the police going to try the same numbers before they come out? By that time, don't bother. Someone could empty my house and escape before they ever got here.

Like this comment
Posted by tom
a resident of Danville
on Dec 7, 2011 at 9:06 am

typical government talk from a city employee mr gillette. every town has one................ enough said

Like this comment
Posted by CountyCoyote
a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2011 at 6:27 am

How is this program going to "save" any money? Aren't the same number of officers going to work the same number of hours?

Like this comment
Posted by Judith
a resident of Danville
on Dec 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I am a Danville resident whose alarm went off three times in the course of several days while I was traveling overseas. It turned out to be an interior motion detector that was defective. Am I supposed to "bill back" any charges to my alarm company for a defective motion detector? I agree that false alarms can be a nuisance, but I believe the majority home and/or business owners of Danville want to be good citizens and do not wish to have their alarms going off arbitrarily. This ordinance is both intrusive and offensive.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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