A revised alarm ordinance has been signed into law by the mayor of Los Angeles that levies fines and provides criminal misdemeanors for false alarms.

The ordinance makes the activation of three false alarms within 365 days that result in a service call a misdemeanor. It also prohibits citizens with two false alarms from making a call for service without being subject to a criminal penalty.

The fine for a first false alarm is $115 and increases $50 for each additional alleged false alarm. If the citizen does not have a permit, the first false alarm is $215 and increases $100 more after that.

“This appears to be a bad ordinance written to support bad public safety policy, and they have limited public knowledge and input in order to make it law,” said George Gunning of USA Alarm Systems Inc., Monrovia, Calif.

“The citizens who own alarm systems will now be required to contribute an estimated $15 million to $20 million to the city for no reason other than the fact that they have taken action to protect their homes and businesses,” Gunning maintained. “The ordinance passed disregards public safety and is being used only as a vehicle to generate unencumbered revenue and avoiding the barriers to new taxes.”

A citizen-based task force prepared a review of the issue insisting that use of patrol resources is valid because it supports the crime prevention and burglary suppression benefits of the alarm systems.

The task force also maintained that fines and penalties only should be used to encourage compliance and never solely to generate revenue. A $25 fine was proposed by the task force and attendance at an alarm school.

“We are disappointed that the city chose this path, which disregards the incredible work of the task force,” Gunning continued. “While Los Angeles made that decision, we are convinced that the task force work will be valuable to those cities who are developing ordinances and alarm management policies that have public safety as their cornerstone and guide.”