North Charleston may issue fines for false burglar alarms

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Homeowners and business owners in the City of North Charleston may soon face fines for an excessive number of false burglar alarms.

False burglar alarms are causing big problems for North Charleston police.

Officials say the false alarms are taking officers away from actual emergencies.

"They don't need to be wasting time, you know, going to calls that they're not needed on, you know I agree with that," said North Charleston resident Don Smith, who has a security system at his home.

City officials say so far this year there have been 6,620 calls for false alarms at businesses.

One business has had 97 false alarm calls this year. Another had 39 calls for false alarms in just one month.

In response, a city council committee on Tuesday will consider an ordinance to fine repeat offenders.

Under the ordinance, four or more false alarms in a year constitutes a public nuisance. The ordinance does not specify the amount of the fine.

The owner of Sonitrol Security Systems says there are several reasons for false alarms.

"Some of it's equipment, and some of it is education. The customer does not understand the system and how to arm and disarm the system," John Rama said.

City council's public safety committee will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the ordinance.

If approved, it will go to the full council for a vote.

The city of Charleston already has an ordinance regarding false alarms.

Officials say at least three false alarms must occur before a citation is written.

Fines range from $50 to $100 depending on the number of false alarms.

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