New System for Tracking Alarms Goes Into Effect
An ordinance aimed at reducing Lincoln’s false alarm rate will officially go into effect on July 1, 2010. In December of last year, the city approved a false alarm reduction ordinance aimed at minimizing the overall number of false alarms requiring police response. Alarm system businesses and alarm system users are required to register under the new ordinance. Registration of alarm systems is key to effectively enforcing the law. A link to on-line registration is conveniently available on the City of Lincoln website or go directly to CryWolf (www.crywolf.us/lincolnne). A help-line has also been established - (877) 263- 6027. Once registered, users will be issued a logon and password, so they may check their account at any time. Existing alarm businesses and users must register by August 30, 2010.
The ordinance requires businesses and residents to pay a series of fees for every false alarm call, beginning with the seventh offense. The first six calls, during the two year registration period, are essentially free. After that, fees start at $100 and reach up to $250. Fees will also be assessed for those that fail to register.
The Lincoln Police Department responded to 3,183 false alarms in 2009. “Responding to false alarms is not only time consuming, but is also dangerous,” Lincoln Police Chief Tom Casady stated. “Reducing false alarm response is safer for officers and the community. I believe that false alarms can be reduced without negatively impacting our ability to catch burglars in the act.”
Earlier this year, the Lincoln Police Department contracted with CryWolf, a Maryland-based alarm monitoring service developed by AOT Public Safety Corporation. Services provided by the company will be free to the police department. CryWolf will receive a percentage of the fees paid by repeat offenders. The remaining money will be deposited into the City’s general fund.
An appeal process has also been established for alarm owners that wish to dispute imposed fees. The Alarm Review Board is a panel consisting of two representatives from separate alarm businesses, a member of the Lincoln Police Department, a citizen from a Lincoln neighborhood association and a person from the local business community. For more information, refer to Lincoln Municipal Code Chapter 5.56 Emergency Alarm Systems.