Alarm fines can only be taken so far before they lose effectiveness. Over the years, SIAC has found this to be true in multiple cases across North America.
It goes like this: After the fifth, sixth or seventh fine (the numbers vary), residential customers will stop paying, making collection an issue. For high profile businesses, like banks, they may look at it as just a cost of doing business or the cost of police response. Continuing to pay escalating fines is a non-issue to them.
Because of this, we advocate for an upper limit on the fines and the amounts. It’s a fine line to tread because the goal is always to keep reducing the amount of unwanted alarms. Fines help deter bad behavior – up to a point. Enforcement is critical. But if the fine is too high, or the deterrent value doesn’t apply, then another step must be added.
That’s also why we believe after a certain number of false dispatches for a home or business, law enforcement response should cease. It makes sense to ensure the actions leading to the unnecessary alarms are stopped.
When the problems are corrected and documented, then local authorities can determine the right procedure to reinstate response. Determining the threshold number of fines to allow before terminating response is up to the local community. The goal should remain to continuously improve the management of alarm systems so unnecessary calls for police dispatch are reduced.