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On false alarms, most metro Atlanta cities aren't like Sandy Springs

Sandy Springs’ ordinance on false alarms is a rare one in metro Atlanta.

The city is facing a lawsuit from security businesses after it passed an ordinance that fines the companies for false alarms, not the residents that use them. Earlier this week, the city revoked the registration of 39 alarm companies for not paying those fines.

Five months after Sandy Springs passed its ordinance to fine companies, Brookhaven followed. That city’s ordinance, passed in December 2017, assess fines on companies up to $250.

Brookhaven received 4,145 false alarm calls in 2016, and response to false alarms from July 2016 to July 2017 cost the city $194,815.


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BACKGROUND | Sandy Springs will not answer calls from dozens of alarm companies

MORE | Sandy Springs revokes registration of 39 alarm companies


Burke Brennan, a spokesperson for Brookhaven, said the city is still in “the implementation stage” of enforcing the ordinance. It hasn’t fined any alarm companies yet, or revoked the registration of any, and Brookhaven isn’t being threatened with a lawsuit, like Sandy Springs.

But have false alarms decreased in the DeKalb County city since its city council adopted the ordinance?

“(It’s) too early to tell, but we are expecting similar positive results as Sandy Springs has experienced,” Brennan said.

Here’s how other cities and counties near metro Atlanta handle false alarm fines:

• Gwinnett County has a county-wide ordinance that fines residents up to $100 for successive false alarms. After a fourth false alarm, a resident’s alarm registration could be revoked.

• Cobb County also has a county-wide ordinance that fines residents. On the 10th false alarm, the user of the alarm can face a $400 fine.

• In Dunwoody, residents can be fined up to $500 for false alarms.

• In other north Fulton County cities — such as Roswell, Milton, Alpharetta and Johns Creek — residents are fined for successive false alarms.

In July 2017, California introduced a law that banned municipalities from fining alarm companies for a resident’s false alarm.


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