Hammond City Council considers increasing fines for false alarms

2012-08-16T20:30:00Z 2012-08-16T21:30:07Z Hammond City Council considers increasing fines for false alarmsChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | Fines for false alarms to the Police and Fire departments will increase under a proposed ordinance before the Hammond City Council.

City Council President Michael Opinker, D-5th, is sponsoring the ordinance after the issue was brought to his attention by the Hammond Police Department.

Under the ordinance, alarm system users wouldn't be charged for the first two false alarms in a year, but would face fines for additional instances. Fines range from $25 up to $100 per alarm depending on how many times public safety officials were notified to check out the property.

“We have apartment buildings in the city that we would take two or three calls a week on false alarms,” Opinker said. “We're sending out these fire rigs and it costs a lot of money to send these things out.”

Fines would be due within 10 days after the alarm user receives written notice of the violation, according to the proposed ordinance.

Police Chief Brian Miller said 90 percent of the notifications the department receives through alarm systems are false.

“Less than 10 percent are actual crimes or something we need to react to, but we go out to each and every one,” Miller said.

Miller said the Police Department receives false alarms from both businesses and homes.

“We've had some businesses where there's four false alarms in a night,” Miller said.

The City Council introduced the ordinance Monday and sent it to committee for further review.

“By increasing these fines we'll generate a lot more revenue, which the city is in great need of,” Opinker said.

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