Syracuse left a lot of money on the table. The city in New York state has an unenforced alarm registration fee that left close to $4.5 million uncollected since 1995, according to estimates from the Syracuse Post-Standard. A new annual registration fee of $50 has been proposed.
This is another case of new measures being proposed because of a lack of enforcement on an existing law. SIAC supports the registration. We also strongly believe that enforcement of local ordinances is the biggest variable that leads to success. We’ve seen this demonstrated over and over across North America.
This case is further documentation that the only reason that alarm ordinances don’t work is due to a lack of enforcement. That leaves us to ask, “How many ordinances are out there that are unenforced and why doesn’t anyone ever have to answer the question of why there was no enforcement?”
The irony, as the Post-Standard article points out, is that city officials don’t know why the initial 1995 law was never enforced. SIAC advocates in favor of permit and fee systems to help reduce unnecessary alarms and offset the costs for a community to run an alarm program successfully. At the same time, city officials must oversee the program to ensure it is being enforced.
Without enforcement, similar to so many other endeavors, all you have is empty words, and nothing changes. And that’s the problem. The permit and fine-based system is designed to make things better for a city by reducing unwanted alarms, freeing up police resources and bringing in money. Any city not enforcing its ordinance loses on three fronts.
We hope the Syracuse example activates other communities to get on the enforcement bandwagon.