(WMC-TV) - In an attempt to plug the drain on wasteful spending, the Memphis City Council is considering tougher false alarm laws than ones currently in place.
Memphis averages about 50,000 false alarms per year.
"Twenty percent of the alarm users are causing 80 percent of the problems," said Memphis City Councilman Kemp Conrad.
That adds up to about $3 million in wasted resources that could have been used to fight real crime.
"I think we need to increase fees or disconnect people who continue to abuse the alarm system," said Conrad.
With the current Memphis city administration facing its most challenging budget to date, issues related to false alarms are a priority.
"Dealing with our alarm ordinance, how we respond to false alarms," said City of Memphis CAO George Little.
Here are the proposed changes:
If you have a false alarm, you could pay the $90 dollars per hour it costs for police to respond.
Instead of being penalized on the sixth false alarm, you would get five allowable false alarms per year before a fine, suspension or removal of the alarm.
Also, after a seventh false alarm, you could be put on a "Do Not Respond" list.
And, if you are operating an alarm without a permit, you could be fined or added to that "Do Not Respond" list.
The council will also review alarm office operations.
"I think one issue we have is the actual administration of the alarm office. When we do have this hearing, I'll be asking a lot of questions about are they implementing the fines, are they having the classes [for alarm abusers] they're supposed to have, and I bet the answer is probably, 'no,' " said Conrad.
Any changes must also be approved by the Shelby County Commission. This could eventually impact every home in the county with an alarm system.
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