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Police crack down with fines as false alarms affect patrols - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Police crack down with fines as false alarms affect patrols

Mt. Pleasant Police Lt. Donnie Quick Mt. Pleasant Police Lt. Donnie Quick
A standard house alarm. A standard house alarm.
MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) -

Police in Mt. Pleasant say a large number of false alarm calls are affecting patrols.

"We respond quite frequently to alarms," said Mt. Pleasant Police Lt. Donnie Quick.

Quick said officers respond to 10 to 15 false alarms a day. So far this year officers have answered more than 1,200 alarm calls, most of them false.

"It takes them away from their patrol duties," Quick said. "They're generally watching the neighborhoods, protecting property and so forth."

Whether it is a real or false alarm, officers have no choice, they have to respond. Mt. Pleasant sends two officers to these kinds of calls for safety issues.

"You never know what you're stepping into," Quick said.

The town is getting tough on residents and business owners who repeatedly have problems with their alarms going off.

Under Mt. Pleasant's alarm ordinance, anyone who is cited for 10 or more false alarms is considered a violator, who may face a fine up to $480.

"When you threaten someone with a fine, that usually gets their attention too," Quick said.

Sonitrol Alarm Company President John Rama says most false alarms are a people problem.

"Most of the time it's not equipment, it's education," Rama said.

Rama added knowing what could set off your alarm is part of the education process.

"If you leave a door unsecured, if a window is left open and a drape blows in front of it, it could trip it," Rama said. 

Rama also said that people need to know how to set their alarm.

"You just hit away and then you've got 60 seconds to exit the home or business," he said.

Lt. Quick said all the education in the world won't lick the false alarm problem for good.

"I'd rather go to a false alarm than go to someone's house that has been broken into, to be honest with you," he said.


Here Are Some Other Ordinances In Nearby Cities:

Summerville

  • $30 fine for a fourth false alarm
  • $50 fine for fifth and six false alarm
  • $100 fine for any subsequent false alarm

Dorchester County

  • $50 fine for fifth false alarm and every false alarm thereafter

North Charleston

  • The city has an ordinance, but doesn't issue fines. If there are persistent problems, the city works with residents, businesses and alarm companies to make sure the problem is alleviated

Charleston

  • $50 fine for fourth, fifth and sixth false alarm
  • $100 fine for seventh and all subsequent false alarms

Moncks Corner

  • Not less than a $25 fine nor more than $100 for first false alarm
  • Not less than $100 nor more than $200 fine for the second and each false alarm thereafter

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