Arundel Offering Grace On False Alarms

August 19, 2009|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

As Anne Arundel County joins the many local governments that levy fines for repeated false alarms, the county is giving homeowners and businesses a grace period until at least January.

The law cracking down on false alarms took effect this month. But the county does not expect to have a company in place to run the program until January. "There are going to be no penalties until a vendor is in place," said spokesman Justin Mulcahy. "Enforcement will be in January."

The law goes after repeated false alarms. Two in a 12-month period are allowed, but the third and fourth will result in $50 fines, and the fifth, a $75 fine. The fines increase with more false alarms, up to $250.

The goal is to cut down on time officers spend on false alarms. In 2008, police received 31,206 alarms calls, but in only 230 of them was a crime taking place, police said. They calculated that false alarms accounted for 8,582 hours of wasted time.

Alarm registration is mandatory. People who have alarms can begin to register them with the county immediately by going to the Web site aacounty.org/police. Click on "Online Forms" and print the alarm registration form. That must be mailed or faxed. Online registration, when it becomes available, will be announced by the Police Department, and through its home page, Facebook and Twitter sites.

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