Beaumont residents may soon have to open up their wallets when their alarms go off and there's no real emergency.
The Beaumont City Council is considering an ordinance that would leave residents on the hook financially every time there's a false alarm call that requires the police to come out. They'd be allowed only one "free pass" for a false alarm, according to a staff report from the police department to the city council.
The fine being considered is $100, according to Police Chief Frank Coe. That's approximately what it costs to send out two officers to the location, he said.
The city report says Beaumont police respond to about 2,000 alarm calls annually. Of those, 99 percent are "...found to be false and attributed to either user error or equipment failure."
"Other cities have found that assessing a fee when a response to an alarm has been determined to be false forces alarm users to be more responsible and accountable for their alarm systems," the report states. "By amending our current ordinance to allow for the assessment of a fee for each response to an alarm determined to be false, the police department hopes to reduce the number of false alarms by placing the responsibilities on the alarm system owner."
Current city code allows for police to cite and fine residents when their alarms falsely go off if they haven't had their system permitted by Beaumont.
Beaumont can also place users on a "no response list" after police respond to three false alarms in a 12 month period, which means police won't respond to alarms unless there is "other independent information that an emergency is occurring or has just occurred such as... a phone call from the victim or the victim's neighbor or relative," city code states.