Thursday, April 30, 2009

False alarm fees to increase May 1


False alarms soon will become a little more costly for Kansas City residents.

The Kansas City Missouri Police Department will increase annual renewal fees from $35 to $40 per false security system alarm beginning May 1, 2009. The increase will apply to both residential and business alarm users. Residential users are allowed two free false alarms and will now be charged $40 for each subsequent false alarm up to $120. Businesses pay $40 for each false alarm. Residents and businesses are not required to pay the annual renewal fee if they have had no false alarm. New permit fees have not changed. Police will not respond to alarms not registered with KCPD.

The purpose of the city’s false alarm ordinance is to minimize the number of false alarm dispatches, thereby keeping more officers available for emergency calls. About 97 percent of Kansas City’s security alarms are false alarms. The ordinance defines a false alarm as “an alarm signal eliciting a police response when a situation requiring immediate response does not in fact exist.”

The Board of Police Commissioners revised the alarm renewal fee based on how many false alarms police respond to and the manpower and other costs involved with doing so.

The law is working. Since 2007, the number of registered alarms in Kansas City has increased 5 percent, but the number of false alarms has fallen 1.2 percent. Kansas City averages 0.29 false alarm calls per registered user, which is about half of the industry standard of 0.50 calls per registered alarm user.

To minimize the number of false alarm dispatches, KCPD’s Private Alarm Section urges all alarm users to ensure the reliability of their system by properly training everyone who uses it and scheduling routine maintenance. Below is the new fee schedule set by the Board of Police Commissioners:

New residential alarm permit: $45
New business alarm permit: $45
New master permit (apartments): $45
Annual renewal fee – residential: $0 (two or fewer false alarms)
Annual renewal fee – residential: $40 per false alarm exceeding two ($120 maximum)
Annual renewal fee – business: $0 (no false alarms)
Annual renewal fee – business: $40 per false alarm (no maximum)