False Alarm? Ordinance will fine repeat offenders, unregistered alarm owners

With police responding to roughly 15 false alarm calls a day, according to Police Sgt. George Floridia, the town is implementing a new “false alarm abatement” ordinance on Sept. 15 that requires home and business security systems to be registered with the town.

Failing to register or having multiple false alarms a year will mean fines under the new ordinance. It applies to every home and business with an alarm installed, but does not include cars or boats. Town buildings and state buildings are also exempt.

“About 97% of the alarms we respond to are false,” Floridia said.

There are some chronic offenders when it comes to false alarms, Floridia said, but police respond to all alarms as a matter of public safety.

Registering the alarm is free and entails filling out a one-page form that asks for address, contact information, property keyholders and information on the kind of alarm. Each permit will be assigned a unique permit number and the user shall provide the permit number to the alarm company, according to the ordinance.

Under the ordinance, residents can be fined $100 a year for failing to register and will be charged $50 for each false alarm without registration.

The ordinance also addresses “excessive” false alarms. Two false alarms in a permit year are forgiven, but once there are three or more, owners will have to pay. The third, fourth and fifth false alarm means a $100 fine. The sixth, seventh and eighth is $125 and above that, it will cost $150.

“If cancellation occurs prior to law enforcement arriving at the scene, this is not a false alarm and no fee will be assessed,” the ordinance reads.

Any alarm user who attends an “alarm awareness class” will be entitled to have the first false alarm violation dismissed. There is also an appeals process, as laid out in the ordinance.

Notice of the new ordinance was initially sent out with property tax bills and so far, about 50 to 75 alarm systems have been registered.

“We have 13,000 residences and 5,000 businesses, so if even half of those are alarmed it’s a lot,” Floridia said.

The alarm ordinance was supposed to take effect Jan. 1, but delays and updates pushed it back to Sept. 15.

The entire ordinance may be viewed at http://www.trumbull-ct.gov/content/10623/10655/11011/15514.aspx, under “False Alarm Abatement Ordinance” and a registration form may be downloaded on the same page under “Trumbull Alarm Registration Form.” Forms are also available at the Police Department front desk, at 158 Edison Road. Completed forms should be mailed or dropped off at the department.