Burglar alarms are only useful if they can be taken seriously. The problem of false burglar alarms was so great in Cincinnati that a new ordinance levies fines on homeowners and businesses for false alarms. Here's what you need to know.
First, the reason for the fines is clear. Every alarm must be responded to. If a large number of alarms is false, it taxes the police force and may cause a situation where a real crime goes unanswered.
Clearly, the false alarms are preventable. False alarms dropped by 3,.500 incidences when the fines were publicized. The fines originally levied were not all that high; $50. Still, that's enough to pay heed to your alarm system and make sure it's not going off without a reason. It's not a small problem either. As much as 98% of alarms can be false. For repeat offenders, the fines go up. It's best to make sure you know how to disarm your system and make sure it's not going off unless the threat is real...or it could cost you.
HSI can help business and residences reduce the rate of false alarms with simple training. Training is a wise investment. Cincinnati businesses owe the city of Cincinnati over 1.5 million dollars in outstanding false burglar alarm fees. At some point, it's like crying wolf. Repeat offenders are taken less seriously and at some point the police just stop showing up. Here's how fines are currently levied for false alarms.
1. For registered burglar alarms, 1st and 2nd false alarms incur NO fee.
2. The 3rd alarm earns the business owner a $50 fine
3. Fines go up from there. The 10th false alarm will cost $500! After that, the fee is $800.
4. Unregistered alarms get higher fines and the fines begin on the first offense. The 1st false alarm is $100 then they immediately jump to $800.
This should NOT deter you from investing in a burglar alarm system. The property crime rate in Cincinnati is twice the Ohio average and more than twice the national average. The fact is that many businesses successfully run burglar alarm systems without generating false alarms and incurring fines associated with false alarms. The key is training, proper installation and appropriate applications. In other words, don't use a motion detector in a room where you plan to leave a birthday balloon on your bosses desk! When the AC or Heat kicks on at night and the air starts to blow, the balloon moves, the motion detector trips, the alarms sound, the police show up and your boss is out $100 or more for his birthday!