A new ordinance intended to cut down on false intruder alarms was adopted into law Tuesday by the Casper City Council.
Casper police officers respond to about 1,200 intruder alarms annually, and nearly all of them are false.
And the use of intruder alarms seem to be growing — as of early October, the police department had received 36% more intruder alarm calls in 2022 compared to the same time in 2021.
The Casper City Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance intended to cut down on the number of false alarms in the city.
Council passes intruder alarm rules
To encourage residents to use them more responsibly, the ordinance will require people to get permits for their private alarm systems and renew them annually. The proposal breezed through its first, second and third readings with no major changes, and is set to go into effect Dec. 27.
When intruder alarms are triggered, the company in charge of monitoring the alarm system (if there is one) will now have to try to contact the user twice before they can call for police intervention.
The ordinance makes it a crime for people to purposefully set off alarm systems when no threat is present. It also makes it illegal to install alarm systems capable of sounding for more than 10 continuous minutes.
Repeat false alarms will be subject to fines, too; anyone responsible for three false intruder alarms in a year will have to pay the city $75.
Fourth and fifth false alarms would result in fines of $150 and $250, respectively. Six or more false alarms would each cost the user an additional $500, according to the ordinance.
False burglar, duress and panic alarms will be punished more harshly. Those kinds of alarms are intended to signal that someone is in serious danger, so emergency services usually dispatch more personnel to respond to them compared to intruder alarms.
Anyone responsible for two false alarms under this category within a year would have to pay the city $250, and a third would cost them another $500. Each subsequent false alarm would incur fines of $700 each.
The ordinance allows police to stop responding to intruder alarms at places that set off eight or more false alarms in one year. That rule doesn’t apply to burglar, duress and panic alarms, however.
Anyone on the receiving end of that suspension can pay the city $25 fee to repeal it, so long as they submit a letter to the city explaining how they plan to prevent future false alarms, and have an alarm company certify that their system is working properly.
People who violates additional requirements of the ordinance, like failing to get their alarm registered, could face additional fines of $100 each.
The ordinance also allows the city to create an “alarm user awareness” class, which would educate Casper residents on how to use their alarms properly. Those who complete the class can have up to $100 in alarm-related fines tossed.