The new year will bring new rules in the City of New London.
Beginning in 2020, any building equipped with a monitored alarm system has to be registered with the city.
In addition to registering alarms, city leaders will now impose fines after two false alarms at an address per year.
“It is about $35,000 a year that we waste responding to these false alarms,” Officer Ryan Soccio said. “It is two officers at a time for at least 15 minutes apiece and multiple false alarms per day. It adds up.”
The New London Police Department evaluated data from 4,000 alarm calls in the last two years. Out of all of those alarm calls, about 99-percent were false alarms, according to Soccio.
“To me, it is not surprising, because I go to these alarms. There are a lot of repeat offenders,” Soccio said.
Soccio said that most of the false alarms are caused by accident or negligence. Officers often find that equipment is malfunctioning, people forget codes or visitors don’t know how to work the systems.
In June, City Council passed a new ordinance requiring all alarm systems to be monitored with the city. Registration is free and has to be completed online. If you do not register before the new year, a false alarm for an unregistered alarm system will cost you $100.
The police will start fining for false alarms after two false alarms in one year. The fine for a third false alarm is $100. A fourth false alarm is $150 and the fifth false alarm in one year will cost $200.
“This is not a revenue generator at all. It is free to register. It is free to renew,” said Soccio. “This is just about cutting those numbers down, making our officers safer, making the community safer.”
Police have been handing out warning slips after false alarm calls in December to remind people to register.
Gina Wassef, pharmacy manager at the Medicine Shoppe in New London, received a warning Thursday morning after her alarm was accidentally triggered.
“I am not surprised by it because I understand it is a waste of time for the police,” said Wassef.
The alarm system at the Medicine Shoppe has been giving Wassef and her team trouble and has been triggered three times in recent memory, she said.
Wassef completed the online registration of her alarm system Thursday and said she is now getting in touch with the alarm system company to fix the problem.
“Because of the ordinance we actually have to take it more seriously and that is why we reached out to our alarm system to try and get this fixed as quick as possible,” said Wassef.
Soccio said that if someone is a conscientious alarm-owner in the City of New London, they should not have to pay anything.
“This is really important. We need to make our officers available to do the proactive police work that they love to do and that is important in the city,” Soccio said.