Sandy Springs sued for tough stance on false alarms - CBS46 News

Sandy Springs sued for tough stance on false alarms

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SANDY SPRINGS, GA (CBS46) -

On an average day in Sandy Springs, police and firefighters go to 30 automatic alarms that turn out to be set off by mistake. They say 98 percent of all automatic alarms turn out to be false.

Besides dividing attention from real emergencies, that adds up to $775,000.00 a year worth of wasted time, or $65 per false alarm.

Sandy Springs took a new approach to the problem last year, telling alarm companies they now have responsibility for collecting and paying the fines of their customers.

A national group representing the alarm companies is suing Sandy Springs in response, saying it is unfair to blame the service for the individual person's mistakes.

We looked up the numbers and here's a comparison between the way Sandy Springs does it, and the way Atlanta does it:

The biggest difference is that Atlanta sends the fine straight to the person who owns the property and the alarm company never sees it.

The first false alarm is free, but they gradually get more expensive until they are $500 each by the seventh time in a year.

In Sandy Springs, the alarm companies now have the burden of paying the fines, which start at $50 and add up to $1000 total by the fourth occurrence in a year.  After that, police stop showing up to automatic alarms until the next year.

Alarm companies say their greatest concern with this new ordinance is that a few unpaid fines for individual customers could lead to the company's entire customer base being ignored.

Sandy Springs says it will still respond to serious alarms in that situation; the ones caused by manually pressing a button, and anything fire related.

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