Columbus hiking burglar alarm fees, fines – News – The Columbus Dispatch

Columbus city officials hope new rules adopted Monday will deter thousands of false burglar alarms that police respond to each year.

The Columbus City Council approved an overhaul of regulations for alarm companies and a new fee structure for homeowners and businesses who use them on Monday night.

The city’s alarm rules haven’t been updated since 1998, and city officials have said new technology has made revisions necessary.

The update will force alarm companies to test systems after installation and require battery backups to try to combat thousands of false alarms that police respond to each year. A new schedule of fines is meant to deter false alarms too.

“We put a tremendous amount of resources into responding to those,” said George Speaks, assistant director in the Department of Public Safety.

In 2016, Columbus police received about 48,000 alarm calls, including about 34,000 false alarms.

“The expectation is that a year from now we’ll see a change in behavior in regards to false alarms,” Councilman Mitchell Brown said. “It’s going to take a while for people to come around and understand it.”

City code required every home or business with an alarm to pay $35 for a license. The change will increase the residential license fee to $45 and then require an annual renewal fee of $25. The city will charge anyone older than 70 a one-time $15 fee for an alarm. Businesses will be charged $70 for the license and then $35 to renew. Banks must pay $55 for the license and $25 to renew.

A $50 late fee will be charged to alarm users who don’t renew on time. Schools will not be charged for licenses.

False alarm fines would be based on the type of alarm call, whether the owner had a city license and whether it occurred at a residence, business, bank or school. Fines would range from $50 to $1,000. False alarm offenders also would have to go through training.

Under the system in place…

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