Milton moves to update city alarm ordinance

The Milton City Council has had a first reading of an updated alarm ordinance that revises fines for false alarms and details how security monitoring companies must confirm whether an alarm is legitimate.

The amendments to the Monitored Alarm Systems section of city codes correct conflicting language and institute best practices of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and Security Industry Alarm Coalition, according to a staff report to the council.

All alarm systems must have a city permit, according to the proposed ordinance. False alarm penalties, assessed against the alarm user, would start at $50 for the third false alarm and rise to $100 for the fourth and $150 for the fifth and subsequent false alarms. Previously, the penalty was $150 for the second and subsequent false alarms.

An alarm monitoring company must make at least two attempts by phone to verify an activated alarm before calling 911 – except in cases of a panic or robbery-in-progress alarm, or where a crime in progress has been verified by video and/or audible means.

The ordinance update also provides for a city Alarm User Awareness Class, instructing people about the problems of false alarms and how to reduce them. The city can give alarm users the option of attending the class in lieu of paying one assessed fine of up to $100.