Alarm billing begins June 1

Published 9:27 pm Saturday, May 23, 2009

The days of free false alarms are nearly over in Suffolk, as the city prepares to begin enforcing a code section enacted a year ago in an effort to reduce the burden that false alarms cause on the city’s emergency services systems.

Suffolk administrators this week sought to remind alarm system owners in the city that come June 1, they will be charged if their alarms goes off needlessly.

The false alarm ordinance, passed in May 2008, requires alarm system owners to pay $25 to register their systems with the city and to pay a fee for each false alarm — after the first one — that occurs during the registration period.

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Suffolk staff members have identified approximately 5,900 alarm owners in the city, but not all have registered their systems, said city spokeswoman Debbie George. If police respond to a false alarm from an unregistered alarm system, the user could be charged $100 for operating an unregistered alarm.

“Our goal is to get everyone registered, so if a homeowner is unregistered, we will consider waiving the unregistered alarm fee, if the owner complies with registration requirements,” said Suffolk Police Capt. Stephanie Burch.

The city hopes to reduce the amount of false alarm calls it receives by at least 50 percent through the use of the program. About 95 percent of all alarm calls the city receives are false. Suffolk Police hope that the reduction in false alarm calls will free up time for officers to respond to legitimate calls for assistance and do more proactive policing.

Alarm system owners are asked to register their alarm systems with Alarm Tracking and Billing Services, even if they have not received a notice in the mail. Visit to register, or call Burch at 514-7930 for more information.