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Saturday, August 25, 2012 - 23:12
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — About a dozen homeowners attended a public input meeting Saturday afternoon as the City of Las Cruces is looking at implementing a stricter alarm ordinance in hopes of reducing false alarm calls.
Last year emergency responders were called out to 7735 alarm calls and only 66 percent of them were real emergencies.
"99 percent of them were false," Lieutenant Kevin Renn. "That's a tremendous waste of public resources responding to false alarms."
The city's current alarm ordinance has been in place since 1988.
The biggest changes are having homeowners register their systems for a $25 fee and a fine system would also be put in place.
"If you don't have the registration and you get a false alarm there is a fine associated with it," Renn said. "If you do have the registration, you receive to false alarms in a year (without a fine)."
The money collected through the ordinance would pay for administrative costs and have staff at the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority dedicated solely to alarm calls.
Homeowner David Kusko, who has had an alarm system for more than 17 years without a false alarm call, said the problem is negligance on the homeowner's part.
"If people would check their systems and be more concerned as to what's happening we'd have fewer calls," Kusko said.
Renn said those false alarm calls are also tying up 9-1-1 dispatch lines.
"When you call 9-1-1 you want someone to answer the phone, and if the majority of the time they are on the phone with a false alarm call that impacts everyone," Renn said.
Under the new ordinance, the alarm company would have to make two attempts at verifying an emergency before an officer is sent out. That currently does not happen.
Kusko said if it means less resources are wasted, he would be willing to pay the fee.
"It's another expense, but if it's going to make the system work better and make everybody safer I think it's worth while," Kusko said.
Proposed fees and fines:
New or Renewal or Transfer $25
Renewal or Transfer $50
First False Alarm $0
Second False Alarm $0
Third False Alarm $100
Questions and concerns can be addressed to:
Lieutenant Kevin Renn