N.Y. Town Mulls Fines For Repeat False Alarms

April 2, 2013
Lancaster is ready to pass a new rule that would fine property owners with security systems that repeatedly send false alarms.

April 02--The Town of Lancaster is poised to approve a new law that would fine the owners of properties whose security systems generate repeated false alarms.

The Town Board could vote on the proposed law as early as its April 15 meeting after a public hearing held Monday night didn't produce any objections.

"What we tried to do was prepare an ordinance that was fair and equitable but also had some teeth, in terms of trying to curb some of these false alarms," Town Attorney John Dudziak said at the hearing held during the Town Board meeting.

Town police records show that officers responded to 1,002 security-system alarm calls between Nov. 1, 2011, and Nov. 1, 2012, and only three offered any indication the alarm was warranted. Some of the alarm calls also required the response of volunteer firefighters.

Over this one-year period, according to the Police Department, 63 residences generated four or more false alarm calls, with eight the highest number for one address. The highest number for one business was 28 false alarm calls, the department reported.

Police send two patrol cars to each call, with officers driving at a high rate of speed with their emergency lights and sirens activated, because the calls are treated as burglaries or home invasions in progress, Police Lt. Jeffrey Smith said Monday.

The new law is an attempt to spur home and business owners to fix problems with their security systems. It would apply to the portion of the town outside the villages of Depew and Lancaster.

Property owners would receive a written warning after each of their first three false alarms requiring a police response.

Fines wouldn't begin until the fourth false alarm, which would prompt a $50 fine, though the regulations are slightly different for calls requiring a fire response.

Resident Mike Fronczak said Monday he thought the new regulations were good but too lenient.

"You get quite a few strikes before you have to pay a minimal fine," he said.

Smith and Dudziak replied that the new law is meant to notify property owners of a problem -- sometimes they aren't present for a false alarm -- more than to punish them.

Also Monday:

-- The Town Board voted to spend $107,550 to buy five new 2013 Dodge Charger police patrol vehicles from Burdick Chevrolet.

-- The Town Board voted to change its 8 p.m. meeting time to 7 p.m. and voted to change the time of its premeeting work session from 7 p.m. to 6:30. The changes take effect with the first meeting of May.

-- A joint meeting of the Town Board and the town Planning Board found an Orville's Home Appliances store planned for the corner of Transit Road and William Street won't harm the environment.

-- Across Broadway from Town Hall, at the village's Municipal Building, the Village Board held its yearly organizational meeting.

email: [email protected]

Copyright 2013 - The Buffalo News, N.Y.

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Firehouse, create an account today!