Burglar Alarm Systems

BURGLAR ALARM SYSTEMS


90.01 Purpose
90.02 Definitions
90.03 Duties of the alarm user
90.04 Penalties; enforcement; appeal
90.05 Severability; allocation of revenue


90.01 PURPOSE.

(A) The purpose of this chapter is to encourage alarm users to properly use and maintain the operational effectiveness and proper utilization of alarm systems and to reduce or eliminate false alarms which may unduly divert police resources.

(B) This chapter governs systems intended to summon law enforcement and provides for penalties and procedures for violations.

(Ord. passed 4-16-2015)


90.02 DEFINITIONS.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.

ALARM . Any electronic or mechanical device which emits any signal, whether electronic, audible, silent or recorded, and which is designed, used, or intended for the detection of an unauthorized intrusion or attempted intrusion into a building, structure or premises or to signal an actual or attempted robbery.

ALARM COMPANY. A business, individual, partnership, corporation or other entity that sells, leases, maintains, services, repairs, alters, replaces, moves, installs or monitors an alarm system in an alarm site. Alarm companies referenced in this chapter shall hold a current alarm systems business license issued by the North Carolina Alarm Systems Licensing Board.

ALARM DISPATCH REQUEST. A notification to a law enforcement agency that an alarm , either manual or automatic, has been activated at a particular alarm site.

ALARM SITE. A single fixed premises or location served by an alarm system or systems. Each tenancy, if served by a separate alarm system in a multi-tenant building or complex shall be considered a separate alarm site.

ALARM SYSTEM. Any assembly of equipment, mechanical or electrical, device or series of devices, including, but not limited to, systems interconnected with a radio frequency method such as cellular or private radio signals, which emit or transmit a remote or local audible, visual or electronic signal indicating an alarm condition and intended to discourage crime and summon law enforcement. ALARM SYSTEM does not include:
1. An alarm installed on a vehicle or person unless the vehicle or personal alarm is permanently located at a site; and
2. An alarm designed to alert only the inhabitants of a premises that does not have a sounding device which can be heard from the exterior of the alarm site.
ALARM USER. Any person, firm, association or corporation of any kind in control of any building, structure or facility wherein an alarm is installed, operated and maintained. In the case of a tenancy, the tenant shall be considered the sole alarm user at the alarm site.

CANCELLATION. The process by which an alarm user or an alarm company providing monitoring verifies with the alarm user or responsible party that a false dispatch has occurred and that there is not an existing situation at the alarm site requiring law enforcement.

CHIEF OF POLICE. The Boone Police Chief or his or her designee.

DURESS ALARM . An alarm system signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a life threatening situation or a crime in process requiring law enforcement response.

FALSE ALARM . An alarm signal or dispatch request to a law enforcement agency that elicits a police response when a situation requiring an immediate response does not in fact exist and the responding officer finds no evidence of a criminal offense or attempted criminal offense after having completed a timely investigation of the alarm site. An alarm will not be considered false if it is determined that the alarm was caused by:

1. A natural or man-made catastrophe, or other “Act of God” such as a tornado, flood, earthquake, or other similarly violent conditions.
2. Vandalism causing physical damage to the property.
3. Attempted entry of a location causing visible, physical, or other evidence of damage to the location which has caused the alarm to sound.
4. Failure of electrical power not caused by the alarm user.

HOLDUP ALARM . A silent alarm signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a robbery in progress.

KEY HOLDER. An alarm user representative with full access to an alarm site and the alarm system contained therein and who is available to respond to the alarm site.

MONITORING. The process by which an alarm company receives signals from an alarm system and relays an alarm dispatch request to the municipality for the purpose of summoning law enforcement response to the alarm site.

VERIFICATION. Communication, by the alarm company or its representative, with the alarm site and/or alarm user by telephonic or other means before requesting law enforcement dispatch, in an attempt to determine the validity of an alarm .

VERIFIED RESPONSE. A specific status in which an alarm system is categorized wherein an alarm company must verify the validity of an alarm through video, audio, or a person on site before the alarm company may contact law enforcement and/or law enforcement will respond.

(Ord. passed 4-16-2015)


90.03 DUTIES OF THE ALARM USER.

(A) An alarm user shall:

1. Maintain the premises and the alarm system in a manner that will minimize or eliminate false alarms ; and
2. Make every reasonable effort to have a key holder respond to the alarm system’s location within 30 minutes when notified to deactivate a malfunctioning alarm system, to provide access to the premises, or to provide alternative security for the premises.
(B) An alarm user shall have their alarm company inspect and/or repair the alarm system as needed and upon being placed in “verified response” status as outlined in § 90.04 Penalties; Enforcement; Appeal.

(C) An alarm user who is having an alarm system monitored shall:

1. Receive training from the alarm company on the proper use of the alarm system prior to the alarm user authorizing the alarm company to request the dispatch of law enforcement and insure that training is provided to all of the alarm user’s employees;
2. Confirm with the alarm company and/or monitoring company that contract information for key holders are current;
3. Communicate with the alarm company and/or monitoring company to assure that the alarm dispatch requests to the municipality are being provided in a manner and form determined by the Chief of Police;
4. Communicate with the alarm company and/or monitoring company to assure that cancellations to the municipality are in a manner and form determined by the Chief of Police.
5. Shall be adequately trained as to the proper use of the duress or holdup alarm if so equipped.
(Ord. passed 4-16-2015)


90.04 PENALTIES; ENFORCEMENT; APPEAL.

(A) An alarm user shall be subject to warnings, fines and verified response status depending on the number of false alarms emitted from an alarm system within any rolling 180 days period based upon the following schedule:

1. First and second false alarms , warning citation issued with no fine.
2. Third false alarm , civil citation, $50 fine.
3. Fourth false alarm , civil citation, $100 fine, alarm system placed on “verified response” status.
4. Fifth and subsequent alarms must be verified before police notification, $100 fine if false.

(B) If cancellation occurs prior to law enforcement arriving at the scene, that is not a false alarm for the purpose of warnings or fines and no fines will be assessed.

(C) Notifications of warnings and fines will be made via Town of Boone civil citation and left with an alarm user, responding key holder, posted on the alarm site, or delivered in a similar manner at a later date. Fines, when applicable, are payable 30 days from the date of issuance.

(D) Notifications that an alarm system has been placed on “verified response” status will be delivered in the form of the citation as well as a notification letter delivered electronically, by regular mail, or in person, to the alarm user or a key holder. The associated fine is payable 30 days from the date of citation issuance. An alarm user who receives notification that their alarm system is in verified response status must notify their alarm company of this condition in order to prevent the alarm company form contacting law enforcement unless the validity of the alarm is independently verified.

(E) A alarm system placed on “verified response” will remain in that status until all outstanding fines are paid and the alarm user delivers to the Chief of Police documentation of correction of any problem condition. Documentation may take the form of a letter from the alarm user and/or a letter from an alarm company that provided service in response to false alarms . The Chief of Police will review the provided documentation and notify the alarm user of additional steps necessary or of removal from verified response status.

(F) Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to the civil penalties set forth. Any violation of this chapter shall be deemed a non-criminal violation and shall not be a misdemeanor or infraction pursuant to G.S. § 14-4 or § 10.99 of the Town of Boone Code of Ordinances.

(G) If payment is not received or equitable settlement reached within 180 days after demand for payment is made, the matter shall be referred to the Town Attorney for initiation of a civil action in the name of the town in the appropriate division of the general court of justice of Watauga County for recovery of the penalty. In the event it is necessary for the town to institute a civil action to collect a civil penalty for the violation of any provision of any town ordinance, the offender shall pay all court costs, including filing fees, fees for service of process, and other expenses incurred in the litigation, such as costs of depositions, copying expenses and charges, and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the town.

(H) An alarm user may appeal the assessment of a fine or verified response status to the Chief of Police. The filing of an appeal with the Chief of Police stays the assessment of the fine or suspension until a final decision is made. The alarm user shall file a written appeal to the Chief of Police by setting forth the reasons for the appeal within ten days after receipt of notification of a false alarm . The Chief of Police will deliver a decision to the alarm user in writing.

(I) Businesses, such as financial institutions and other establishments, which utilize robbery or panic alarms , will not be placed on “verified response” status. Established robbery alarm response protocol will be followed. However, the civil fine schedule listed above will apply to false robbery, panic, and/or hold-up alarms .

(Ord. passed 4-16-2015)


90.05 SEVERABILITY; ALLOCATION OF REVENUE.

(A) If this chapter or application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given separate effect and to this end the provisions of this chapter are declared to be severable.

(B) All fees collected pursuant to this chapter shall be General Fund revenue of the Town of Boone.

(Ord. passed 4-16-2015)