False Alarms Carry a Heavy Price - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/27/02

False Alarms Carry a Heavy Price

Lubbock false alarm calls cost the city over 255,000 last year. It's a problem the city is addressing by issuing permits and handing out fines. So far, Lubbock police have issued 891 $50 alarm permits to date and alarm users aren't happy.

"You open it up and it's from a police department about your excessive alarm system going off.. Now I don't know who the genius was that figured out what excessive was," says concerned citizen, Jerry Eubank.

The clock is ticking for Eubank. He's one of hundreds that recently received a letter saying you have 10 days to buy a $50 permit from the Lubbock Police Department. You see, in the past year Eubank has had three false alarms at his home. Each time, an officer has to respond to the call. And the city says it's a waste of time and money.

"For example last year they answered 26,000 alarm calls and 99% of those were false. The average time an officer takes to respond to a call is 30 minutes so when you multiply that times the number of calls it's a significant amount of time officers are out patrolling," says Harold Dominguez, Assistant to the City Manager .

Dominguez says people need to be more responsible with their alarm systems, and issuing permits and fines is the best solution. Here's how it works: After 3 false alarms you pay a $50 permit. After eight, you are charged another $50 for each subsequent false alarm.

Eubank says, "I'm still outraged by this, this ain't over yet." He says he shouldn't have to pay for a permit. He says of the three false alarms at his home, officers showed up only once. But according to the ordinance, if an officer is dispatched to a call and it's canceled while the officer is en route.. The alarm owner is still charged. "I have not gone to go pay it and there's a question about whether I am going to pay it or not," says Eubank.

If you receive a letter and you refuse to pay the permit.. You face a Class C Misdemeanor. That's a fine ranging from $200 to $500. The city says, the majority of the false alarms come from user errors. This means the alarm is set incorrectly or people may be testing it out and forget to notify the alarm company.

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