Syracuse City Council: Security Firms Responsible For Annual Burglar Alarm Fee

I would like to know how the rest of you feel about this. It is a bit off the IP topic, but we all run a security business. I see this as a major pain. Am I seeing it wrong?

By SSI Staff ·June 11, 2014

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The city council here has approved an ordinance that will charge intrusion alarm owners residents an annual fee of $30, which is expected to bring in $360,000 per year in revenue.

The new ordinance makes alarm companies responsible for paying the fee instead of the property owner. Alarm companies can then pass on the cost to customers however they see fit, Syracuse.com reports.

Failure to pay the fee can result in a penalty of $500 per violation against the alarm firm

The city initially passed the $30 annual fee requirement in 1995; however the amendment makes it easier for the city to collect fines, Beth Rougeux, director of administration told Syracuse.com.

Supporters of the measure believe it would be too burdensome and costly for the city to track each false alarm and charge fines only against responsible parties.

Opponents, on the other hand, have said that the measure will not limit the number of false alarms that police respond to each year.

Supporters of the measure believe it would be too burdensome and costly for the city to track each false alarm and charge fines only against responsible parties.

Translated, you alarm companies can waste your time doing our work.


Opponents, on the other hand, have said that the measure will not limit the number of false alarms that police respond to each year.

IMHO, opponents would do better to argue that it will reduce the number of false alarms. Why?

tl; Although it may seem quite laughable to those in the trade, the central station is often pictured, in the mind's eye of the naive customer, as a place where the original installer's people work and respond to alerts generated by that installer's clients. Though this is rarely the case, installers do little do dissuade this package deal mentality, since it serves their ends of subscription longevity. Of course people who work at central monitoring stations are well aware of this perception and also will not actively enlighten anyone either. Which isn't to say that they lie...

What it does mean is they try to avoid placing blame on the installer as a rule.

But when there is a unverified alarm leading to dispatch, it is a false alarm > 95%. And when presented with a bill for a FA, what do you think a customer does? Blames themselves? Maybe the first time. Less so after that. They either protest that the alarm shouldn't have gone off or they just shut the 'call central station' part of the system down (where possible) because of the financial risk. In either case this makes the 'central station' the loser eventually. Moreover when the customer views central station and the installer as the same entity, it leads to a finger pointing mess, where the station would end up eating some of those charges. dr

The net effect is that the central station will be extra cautious about calling in unverifieds, subjecting them to extra scrutiny and allowing more time to elapse try to contact homeowners, leading to reduced false positives. But of course, it will just take a heinous home invasion made worse because of a, financially motivated, delayed response to make them rethink their position.

So, I think it's a stronger argument to say "Yes, this will reduce false alarms, but we are gonna miss more real ones too..."