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Alarm without permit going off in Manteca will cost $200

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POSTED July 13, 2009 12:54 a.m.

If you have an alarm and you don’t have a free city permit it may now cost you $200 if it goes off and Manteca Police respond.


The charge is part of an effort to reduce municipal costs as Manteca faces a general fund deficit while improving law enforcement service levels. The new policy is expected to save over $80,000 in personnel costs in responding to false alarms. That is roughly the cost of salary and benefits for one police officer.


Prior to July1 the city allowed two false alarm responses a month without charging. The third, fourth, and fifth call each month resulted in a $50 charge each.


There previously was no charge for not having an alarm permit or for the owner failing to respond. The new ordinance that is now in effect charges $200 for no alarm permit and $100 if the owner fails to respond.


New rules limit false alarms to two a year and not two a month. There is no charge for the first two responses. The third false response is $100, the fourth response is $200, and the fifth is $400.


The city gave those who have alarms but no city permit for them until June 30 to obtain one. The alarm permit comes with details on the owner’s responsibility and city policies plus provides police with contact information.


Manteca Police spokesman Rex Osborn last week noted Police Chief Dave Bricker is currently using discretion to determine if an offender is billed for multiple responses to false alarms or if they do not have an alarm permit and their alarm goes off.


Manteca has 23,618 residential units. There are currently 1,312 burglar alarm permits issued or about 5.6 percent of the housing stock. During 2008, police responded to 3,527 residential burglary alarms. Mechanical failure or owner error accounted for 98.7 percent of those calls and not criminal activity.


Each alarm response took an average of 18 minutes to respond, check the structure and contact the owner. Due to the nature of the calls it requires two officers. Manteca Police devoted 2,116 hours last year responding to false alarms.


The contract for alarm service is between the alarm company and the alarm owner and is not binding on the city.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com


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