19 Aug 2014
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Grosse Pointe Woods to Require Alarm System Registration

New ordinance sets registration fees for alarm systems and fines for emergency responses to false alarms.

Grosse Pointe Woods to Require Alarm System Registration

Having an alarm system in is going to cost a $60 registration fee, and result in fines if it rings false and garners police response.

The Woods City Council unanimously passed a new ordinance that regulates residential and commercial alarm systems Monday. They began as a measure to curb false alarm responses by emergency workers. 

The new ordinance, which won't take effect until 20 days after the city advertises it in a publication, requires the following: 

  • Registration with a $60 fee
  • Failure to register will result in a $60 fine
  • False alarm penalties will begin after the second false alarm  
  • Second and third false alarms will result in a $30 fine
  • Fourth and subsequent false alarms are a $100 fine
  • The tally on false alarms starts again each fiscal year
  • Alarm systems must be registered every three years 

The decision to enact registration fees and false alarm fines stemmed from the time wasted by emergency responders, City Administrator Al Fincham said.

He said of 690 responses to burglar alarms one recent year, all were false.

The hope, he said, is that the ordinance will encourage home and business owners to carefully operate and maintain their systems so that emergency responders' time isn't wasted.

And then there is the liability that comes with emergency runs, the fuel costs and the wear and tear on vehicles.

In response to concerns of council members such as Vicki Granger, he said, the police chief will have the power to review false alarms that could not be prevented or are beyond the owner's control.

By requiring registration, the new ordinance will also give police data on how many  security systems are used in the city, Fincham said.

Residents and business owners should expect to start registering their current alarm systems in about a month. The ordinance must be advertised first before the city can enact it, meaning it will take effect in about 30 to 40 days and then alarm holders will be required to register within the 20 days after that, said Woods Comptroller Dee Ann Irby. 

Some of the other Grosse Pointes have a similar ordinance and related fee schedule.

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