The Memphis, Tenn. City Council approved a measure that would impose fines on people whose home or business burglar alarms frequently register false reports.
"What we're trying to do here is decrease the false alarms and thus the impact on the Memphis Police Department, which has to respond to the alarms," said Councilman Kemp Conrad, who sponsored the measure. In 2008, police received 96,949 alarm calls, including 52,257 false alarms.
The city estimated it spent $3.1 million to respond to those false alarms. The ordinance, which the council had previously approved but had to revisit because Shelby County made some minor changes, modifies a 1999 ordinance and sets limits on the number of allowable false alarms within a 12-month period.
For the first three false alarms, the owner receives a written warning. At the fourth false alarm, the owner must attend a mandatory alarm-user class. After the fifth false alarm, the owner must pay a $25 fine and will receive a letter requiring inspection of their alarm. After the seventh false alarm, the owner must pay a $25 fine and civil damages of $90. After the eighth false alarm, the owner must pay a $25 fine, civil damages of $90, and would be placed lower on a priority response list.