Grosse Pointe Woods to Require Alarm System Registration

New ordinance sets registration fees for alarm systems and fines for emergency responses to false alarms.

Having an alarm system in is going to cost a $60 registration fee, and result in fines if it rings false and garners police response.

The Woods City Council unanimously passed a new ordinance that regulates residential and commercial alarm systems Monday. They began as a measure to curb false alarm responses by emergency workers. 

The new ordinance, which won't take effect until 20 days after the city advertises it in a publication, requires the following: 

  • Registration with a $60 fee
  • Failure to register will result in a $60 fine
  • False alarm penalties will begin after the second false alarm  
  • Second and third false alarms will result in a $30 fine
  • Fourth and subsequent false alarms are a $100 fine
  • The tally on false alarms starts again each fiscal year
  • Alarm systems must be registered every three years 

The decision to enact registration fees and false alarm fines stemmed from the time wasted by emergency responders, City Administrator Al Fincham said.

He said of 690 responses to burglar alarms one recent year, all were false.

The hope, he said, is that the ordinance will encourage home and business owners to carefully operate and maintain their systems so that emergency responders' time isn't wasted.

And then there is the liability that comes with emergency runs, the fuel costs and the wear and tear on vehicles.

In response to concerns of council members such as Vicki Granger, he said, the police chief will have the power to review false alarms that could not be prevented or are beyond the owner's control.

By requiring registration, the new ordinance will also give police data on how many  security systems are used in the city, Fincham said.

Residents and business owners should expect to start registering their current alarm systems in about a month. The ordinance must be advertised first before the city can enact it, meaning it will take effect in about 30 to 40 days and then alarm holders will be required to register within the 20 days after that, said Woods Comptroller Dee Ann Irby. 

Some of the other Grosse Pointes have a similar ordinance and related fee schedule.

Stevan Skorupski September 14, 2011 at 01:25 AM
A false alarm signal is sent every time there is a power outage, and when power is restored. So the City of Grosse Pointe Woods should charge Detroit Edison for all the false alarms instead of creating more fees for residents. In fact, the Citys of All the Grosse Pointes should charge Detroit Edison for impersonating a Utility Company and all their lies......... Steve the Lineman
John F Martin September 14, 2011 at 01:49 AM
I'm all for charging for false alarms but a $60 registration fee is ridiculous. Anyone care to explain how this is legal? Let's squeeze our residents and businesses a bit more.
George Saady September 14, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Alarm system registration and the false alarm charge is just another way to raise taxes on an already over burdened population. These types of cost actually lower property values because the cost of taxes and fees make the community economically undesirable when compared to similar up scale communities without these costs. I shows that the local government cannot properly budget its tax income and is potentially on the decline (What other services can they no longer afford?) In addition it discourages people from installing burglar and fire alarms thereby increasing the chance of both property damage and potential assaults from home invasions and the liability of such instances fall squarely on the shoulders of the local government. It only takes one victim to say they would have had an alarm system if they could have afforded the fees that the local government required. Police protection is already provided for through taxes. Our Grosse Pointes are gradually turning into "Planed Unit Developments " and the next stage will be "Association Dues" only under different name. Remember this is not a tax increase. Just another example of incompetent leadership and spending.
George R. McMullen Jr. September 17, 2011 at 11:24 AM
I can't describe why I feel that a registration fee or even registration for alarms dosen't seem correct. I do agree for the fees for false alarms though. The issue on registration for alarms will be good cocktail conversation to see what my friends think.


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