Security Systems and False Alarms
False Alarm Program
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Security Alarm Registration Program and False Alarm Program is in full swing as is evident from all the news articles that have been circulated in our local newspapers and online, published on news4jax.com. Official letters and notifications have not been sent out from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office as of yet, but all home and business owners who have alarm systems, are required to register their alarm systems by August 31, 2017, information sources say.
In accordance with chapter 168 of the Jacksonville Florida Ordinances, if you have an alarm system installed within the Jacksonville City Limits, for a residential or business property, it must be registered with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Online System.
The associated fees for an alarm registration are as follows: For existing home and business alarm systems the fee is $10 dollars if the alarm registration is completed within 90 days from the date the online alarm registration is activated. If the registration is not completed within the rule, that is 90 days from the date the online alarm registration has taken place, the fee is $20 dollars. For all newly installed alarm systems the registration fee is $10 dollars if the registration is completed within 30 days of the alarm installation date or if the registration is not completed within the 30 days period the costs of registration is $20 dollars. Renewal fees for both residential and commercial properties are free as long as the re-registration is conducted within 30 days prior to and after the expiration date. If the re-registration is completed after 30 days of the expiration date the cost is $20 dollars. Subsequent renewals will be completed online every year, as long as the alarm system is activated and in use. Again all alarm systems need to be registered on line by August 31, 2017
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Alarm Permit Application can be found at www.cityalarmpermit.com. The applicant is required to pay the fees and execute the application acknowledging that they have read the terms and conditions that specify that the applying principal, has trained anyone who has formal access to the secured and protected premises, which includes instruction on procedures and practices to follow, in the event the security alarm is triggered accidentally. It further acknowledges that the security alarm installation company has provided a set of written instructions for the alarm system and guidelines on how to avoid a false alarm.
Why is the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Requiring Alarm Registration?
This alarm registration requirement is part of a new program being administered by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office trying to reduce the number of “false alarms” that are being recorded in the city, false alarms triggered at an alarming rate. Additionally, there are more than 185,000 residential and commercial security alarms registered with the city but many are no longer operational or the responsible parties have changed, so the contact information maybe out of date or inaccurate. According to news4jax, the sheriff’s office dispatches police to over 47,000 alarms each year, which represents 38,000 police man hours. That is equivalent to 18 full time police officers responding to alarms within the city. More importantly, it has been calculated that 98% of all activated alarms that occur in this city each year are what can be called “false alarms”. In other words, the alarms that were responded to did not yield an emergency or criminal activity according to official sources. This is a huge problem for municipalities all across the United States, not just in our area. With local city budgets stretched to the limit, miss-use of police resources is of extreme importance: dispatching officers to false alarms while they could be conducting traffic checks or preventing crime in other areas of their watch.
Penalties for Continued False Alarm Triggers
The Ordinance also includes fees for fines associated with a property that continually generates a false alarm. It has been estimated that the majority of false alarms are generated by the same properties, so the city has created the following guidelines for fining those property owners who have re-occurring false alarms. 1st and 2nd alarms that are determined to be false are excused from paying a fine, but the 3rd occurrence carries a $50 dollar fine, 4th occurrence is $100 dollars, 5th occurrence is $150 dollars, 6th occurrence is $250 dollars. Any property, residential or commercial that generates false alarm occurrences that exceed 7 false alarms, the user will pay $250 dollars for each false alarm occurrence and the police will not respond to burglary calls, but will respond to robbery or panic alarms in progress. The user’s permit to have a security alarm system will be suspended from the date the 7th false alarm was recorded and the user can apply for a new permit one year from that date. All fines must be paid before a new permit will be issued.
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