False alarms decreased in Greenville County, SC, after a new alarm ordinance was enacted. Hmmmm, should we be surprised? Not here at SIAC. We expect that. When proper provisions are put in place and sensibly enforced, good things happen. We see that time and again.
The Greenville County Council looked at the impact of an ordinance they passed in September of 2017, which imposed stricter fines on habitual false alarm offenders. The Sheriff’s Office started enforcing the ordinance in January. Since then, they say they’ve seen a decrease in the number of false alarms, according to news reports.
Here are the provisions put into effect by the county: After two (2) false alarms within a calendar year, all additional false alarms during the calendar year shall be considered a violation of this article and shall be deemed a civil infraction and the alarm system user shall be subject to the following fines:(1) 3-5 False Alarms within the calendar year shall be punishable by a fine of $50 per occurrence;(2) 6 and 7 False Alarms within the calendar year shall be punishable by a fine of $100 per occurrence;(3) 8 and 9 False Alarms within the calendar year shall be punishable by a fine of $250 per occurrence, and(4) 10 or more False Alarms within the calendar year shall be punishable by a fine of $500 per occurrence.
Since the new ordinance has been in effect, the worst offender went from having nearly 130 false alarms in a year to none.
“Our goal was to correct the false alarm problem,” Council Member Lynn Ballard said. It seems to be working. From the first six months of 2017 compared to the first six months of 2018, the number of false alarms in the county decreased by nearly 500, ultimately improving public safety.
Ballard says since the ordinance has passed no residential customers have been fined for false alarms, only businesses. Security companies say they’ve also implemented a two-call confirmation (ECV) process which has also played a role in decreasing the number of false alarms, according to the news report.
This is why we do what we do at SIAC. Share good information. Work with local officials. Tailor a program to fit their resources. If done with commitment, ordinances work effectively and everyone wins.