Jacksonville residents and business owners have three months to register their burglar alarms with the Sheriff’s Office.
Officers respond to 45,000 alarm calls a year — and 98 percent of them are false. Officials hope the new registry, and stiffer penalties, will help.
It’s not a problem unique to the River City, but Sheriff Mike Williams said false alarms require more than 36,000 hours of police time annually.
“Right now, if we spend 36,000 hours a year on responding to what is really a 98-percent false alarm operation, that’s 18 full-time policemen,” he said.
Williams blames a combination of user error — like pets that set off motion sensors — and the city’s antiquated security alarm-registration and inspection system.
To ensure residents are complying with alarm inspections and best practices, city council last year mandated the creation of the new, online registration system. They also upped penalties for repeat false alarms, Williams said.
MORE | A full schedule of the new fees associated with false alarms:
- No fee for first two false alarms
- 3rd offense: $50
- 4th: $100
- 5th: $150
- 6th: $250
- 7th: JSO will no longer respond to burglar alarm calls but will continue to respond to panic or robbery alarm calls. Alarm user will be charged $250 for each subsequent false alarm.
“Our new system can identify an alarm that’s not registered. Anyone who is not paying fines or fees for false alarms can also be identified. Excessive false alarms at a single location can be identified and these infractions can result in us not responding to that burglar alarm,” he said.
Williams added police will always respond to panic or fire alarms.
The new city policy limits homeowners to just two false alarms before being fined.
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