BRADENTON - The Bradenton City Council today cut in half the number of false alarms the Bradenton Police Department will respond to before it starts charging property owners for the calls.
Previously, four false alarms had to occur before the city started levying a $100 false alarm fee. The police department requested the number be reduced to two, and the council concurred, with a 4-0 vote. Councilman Gene Gallo was absent.
Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said the proposal came out of an examination of the department's workload. He said his officers respond to about 3,000 false alarm calls. Last year, there were 588 locations that two false alarms, and another 558 had three false alarms.
There were two locations that had 17 false alarms each, Radzilowski said.
"These things are running us ragged," he said.
Radzilowski said the new limits are intended not to generate revenue for the city, but to reduce officers' workloads and to ensure that residents' security systems are working properly. He said the department would not hold it against residents if security systems malfunction, for example, because of bad weather.
"We're looking for them to have a good system they can rely on," he said.
The city's Web site offers tips on how to avoid false alarms:
1. Have your alarm system serviced regularly. (Most manufacturers suggest a yearly inspection or service)
2. Keep motion sensors clear of dust and hanging objects that might set them off.
3. Secure your pets so they don’t set off motion detectors.
4. Make sure all windows and doors are secured. (Many alarms are caused by unlocked doors or windows being opened by persons with non-criminal intentions.)
5. Change the back-up battery. (May be included in the yearly service.)
6. Make sure your Alarm Company has current telephone numbers for you or your business. (A cancelled false alarm does not count against you in determining whether or not to fine for unnecessary false alarms.)
7. Become familiar with how to use your alarm and it’s features.
8. Make sure everyone who has a key to your house or business also has the alarm code and instructions about what to do in case of a false alarm.