Alarm fee punishes the innocent

Published 10:09 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I received in the mail today a notification from ATB Services Company of Colorado Springs that I am required to register my alarm system and pay the City of Suffolk a fee for false alarms.

Let me begin by saying that there have been a tremendous number of residential burglaries in the western part of the city. Many of these have gone unsolved by the police or were solved only after extended periods of time.

For this reason, many of us felt forced to install alarm systems to protect our property and our families. I have never had a false alarm in the entire time I have had the alarm system.

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I can understand that continued false alarms are a problem for the police in both man hours expended and money. However, what percentage of these systems is actually causing the problem? I would venture a guess that it is a small percentage, indeed.

To punish everyone who owns a system because of the problems of a few is wrong, to say the least. That is no different than sending a bill to every licensed driver because some people break the speed limit.

To call this a “registration fee” is a joke. This is a tax, pure and simple. To charge people $25 per year, simply because they want to protect themselves, is going too far. If you wish to punish those who cause the problem, then please do so. However, this ordinance as it stands is unfair.

What portion of this fee actually goes to the city of Suffolk, and how will it be used? What portion of the fee will go to the Colorado-based company that sent me the bill? What other items in my house will need to be “registered” for the convenience of some city agency in the future?