Following a unanimous vote at their September 20, 2011 meeting, the Danville Town Council has approved a new ordinance that will begin assessing fines for false alarms. The ordinance would require those with burglar alarms to register with police. Registration is free and would require some contact information.
In 2010, the Danville Police Department responded to a total of 2,297 burglar alarm calls. Of this total, 2,264 calls (98.5%) were determined to be false alarms. Of the remaining 33 calls, the responding officers determined that an unsecure door or window had triggered the alarm, but no crime had been committed, making 100% of the alarms in 2010 unfounded. Cost of responding to these false alarms was over $69,000.
Nationally, between 94% and 98% of alarms are false. Research suggests that false burglar alarms result from three main causes:
User errors, such as using incorrect keypad codes, leaving a door or window open when activating the alarm, roaming pets, and errors arising from inadequate employee training, such as entering and exiting alarmed premises incorrectly.
Faulty or inappropriately selected equipment.
Poor installation, including failing to install motion detectors in sensible areas or at appropriate heights.
Commercial properties tend to have false alarm rates that are as much as three times higher than residential, due to more people sharing responsibility for activating and deactivating the systems, and system complexity.
One change in the ordinance is the amendment of penalty fees. Fees were reduced from a $50 fine for a first violation, to a warning letter. For second violations, fines were reduced from $100, to a $50 fine. And for third violations, it was reduced from $250 to a $150 fine. Fourth and additional violations within a year will be $300. Alarm permits will be available on line through the Police Department Home Page, and at the police department, located at 510 La Gonda Wy.
The Police Department is currently engaging in an awareness campaign through various media sources in an effort to reduce the number of false alarms by residences and businesses. The PD has provided a downloadable flyer with information on the new ordinance.