Fines Increase for False Security Alarms

(Harford County, MD) — During the calendar year of 2006, Harford County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to 6,183 residential and business security alarms. A total 4,344 of the reported alarms or 70% were determined to be false alarms and could have been avoided. False alarms include: negligently or accidentally activated signals, signals that are the result of faulty, malfunctioning, or improperly maintained equipment, and signals that are purposely activated to summon police in non-emergency situations.

On July 10, 2007, the Harford County Council voted to amend the current law by increasing false alarm fines and allowing two false alarms per calendar year. The law requires the Sheriff’s Office to carefully track false alarms to assure that the law is fairly and uniformly enforced. Effective Saturday September 15, 2007, the new fees charged by Harford County Government are as follows: third false alarm in a calendar year - $100.00, fourth false alarm in a calendar year - $150.00, fifth and each false alarm thereafter in a calendar year - $200.00.

Help prevent false alarms by practicing the following tips:

  • Develop a routine for turning your alarm system on and off so that you don’t overlook a necessary step.
  • Make sure all doors, windows, and other protective points are securely closed.
  • Check all lights and switches at your system’s control point. If your system can be set several ways, be sure you have selected the proper setting.
  • Make sure the system is “ready” before turning it on. (Many systems have indicator lights to tell you when they are active.)
  • Make sure those people who are permitted access to your alarm system are trained on how to use it. Review the proper operation with them periodically.
  • Follow all instructions furnished by your alarm company for use, repairs, maintenance, etc.

Alarms are an effective tool in preventing crime. However, unless alarms are used and maintained properly, they can cause time consuming, potentially dangerous and expensive false alarms.