False Alarms Truly a Drain?

By yager, alicia | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), August 22, 2013 | Go to article overview

False Alarms Truly a Drain?


yager, alicia, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


other agencies Here is how other area law enforcement agencies handle false burglary alarms: - Platteville, Wis., police follow a fee schedule set up by city ordinance. For a one-year period, there is no charge for the first two calls, then it's $25 for the third, $50 for the fourth and $100 for the fifth, with a maximum fine of $200. The city requires a permit for alarms that call directly to either the police or a security company. - The Jo Daviess County (Ill.) Sheriff's Department has a flat fee of $36 for each response where an officer is on scene. - Asbury, Iowa, police do not charge a fee for false alarm responses. - In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the police do not charge for the first two calls each fiscal year. Then, it's $50 for third through fifth and $100 per call after that. The city requires a $25 annual permit for alarms that call directly to either the police or a security company. - Davenport, Iowa, police do not charge for the first four false alarms in a 12-month period. A fifth false alarm has a fee of $75, with each subsequent one bumping up to $150. According to city code, permits are required for all alarm systems. Permits are suspended after more than nine false alarms, and police will not respond to alarms from that location.While cities like Des Moines and Urbandale, Iowa, are pulling in big bucks in fees from false burglary alarms, Dubuque has been much more forgiving.

Des Moines took in $138,000 last year from nearly 2,400 false alarms, which are times when law enforcement responded to a scene and found no legitimate signs of a break-in. Urbandale collected $40,800, while Coralville, Iowa, reported $3,375 in fees for about 500 false alarms.

But for Dubuque's most recent fiscal year, which ended in July, the city collected $1,550 in fees for 1,142 false alarms.

In fiscal year 2011, the city brought in $11,475 for 1,369 false alarms, and for 2010, the amount was $13,770 for 1,210 false alarms.

"It certainly isn't a money-maker for us," said Dubuque Assistant Police Chief Terry Tobin.

While Des Moines charges up to $500 for an initial false alarm and up to $750 for additional ones, Dubuque has a more lenient structure. During a fiscal year, a business or residence is not charged for the first four false alarms, while the fifth through eighth offenses are $45 per response. Nine or more false alarms carry a $100 penalty per call.

After a 12th offense in a year, the police can take away the city-

issued alarm permit until the problem is resolved. …

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