First-time homeowners are hit with a surprise bill. They said Cape Coral Police Dept. charged the for a false alarm on their new security system.
Jessica Feickert moved to Cape Coral a few months ago with her 2-year-old son and fiance. It is their first home. For safety reasons, they got an alarm system with Xfinity.
Feickert told WINK News the installer said she needed to register the alarm with Lee County. However, the company told her it would register for them. Turns out that did not happen.
The alarm went off while they were not home. Feickert told Xfinity to send police to the home.
“It could’ve been life-threatening,” Feickert said. “Something could’ve been stolen.”
The good news was that Cape Coral Police Dept. officers found nothing was wrong. But the bad news was a bill for $75 for not registering with the department.
Sgt. Patrick O’Grady, from the CCPD, said if the home is registered then they know where it is within the city.
“It shows that we have a contract with them,” Sgt. O’Grady added.
Sgt. O’Grady told us CCPD officers respond to thousands of false alarms each year. The fine is designed to hold alarm owners accountable for false alarms. The registration allows them to get in contact with homeowners quicker.
But that does not ease Feickert’s fears for the next time the alarm goes off. Now she worries about weighing the repercussions of an emergency that turns out to be a false alarm.
“Do we pay the $75 for it to be a potential false alarm?” Feickert said. “Or do we just wait it out and hope that nothing was taken?”
A spokesperson told us it had to be a miscommunication or the installer needs further training. Typically, it is the homeowners’ responsibility to register with the proper police agency.
False alarm procedures for alarm systems and police agencies
Xfinity: Call you first. Call all other contacts within about two minutes; then the police are notified if no one answers.
ADT– Will call you and will only dispatch to the police if you answer. If not, it will try all other contacts. Within a minute to two minutes, then it will send the police.
BRINK: Sends resident a text or email to hit a button to respond. No response in 45 seconds, then it will call the police.
AT&T: Call you and other contacts first. Then, if no one answers, it dispatches police.
VITEX: Sends an email and text alert to respond, too. If there is no response within a minute, it will contact the police.
New Collier policy: The county says, “the text or email of the false warning comes from the actual police department. When you get an alert or call when your alarm is going off, it is coming from the actual alarm system. (Usually, you have to download an app) That’s where you will get a call, text, or message. They used to do a written warning, so this is them trying to go paperless.”
According to Collier County False Alarm Ordinance 2019-04, the fine schedule for false alarms occurring within 180 days is as follows:
False alarm fine schedule:
- First false alarm response No fine
- Second false alarm response No fine if registered, $25 alarm fine if not registered, plus $25 registration fine
- Third and fourth false alarm response $75 false alarm fine
- Fifth and sixth false alarm response $100 false alarm fine
- Seventh and eighth false alarm response $150 false alarm fine
- Ninth and consecutive false alarm response $200 false alarm fine
- First response is no charge;
- Second response within six months of a first response is $10.00;
- Third response within six months of a first response and each succeeding response within six months after the last response is $75.00.
- For the first two false activation, there is no fine. But, any additional false activation within a one-year period will result as follows:
- Third response is $35;
- Fourth response is $60;
- Fifth response is $85;
- Sixth response is a required court appearance.
The Charlotte County Sheriff may impose and administrative fee not to exceed $10 in addition to the above described fines.
- First and second false alarms $25.00 each; however, if the alarm operator has a valid alarm permit, then there is no fine for the first false alarm;
- Third and fourth false alarms $50.00 each;
- Fifth and sixth false alarms $100.00 each;
- Seventh and eighth false alarms $200.00 each;
- Ninth and above false alarms $400.00 each.
The additional fine for false alarms from a non-permitted alarm system or from an alarm system with a revoked permit is $200.00. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office may reduce this amount to $50.00 if the alarm system is permitted within 10 days of the false alarm.
Registration fee is $25
Fees for registered burglar false alarm:
- First response is free;
- Second response is $50 or alarm school;
- Third response is $75;
- Fourth response is $100;
- Fifth response is $150;
- Six or more responses is $200.
Fees for non registered burglar false alarm:
- First response is $50.00;
- Second response is $150.00;
- Third response is $175.00;
- Fourth response is $200.00;
- Fifth response is $250.00;
- Six or more responses is $300.00.
Number of false alarms in 12 months and associated fine
- First incident is $25;*
- Second incident is $25;**
- Third incident is $50;
- Fourth incident is $50;
- Fifth incident is $100;
- Sixth incident is $100;
- Seventh incident is $200;
- Eight incident is $200;
- Ninth or more incidents are $400;
- Non-Permitted or alarms with revoked permits are $200 each incident.
* Fine is waived for the 1st False Alarm for registered systems.
** There shall be no fine for the second false alarm If the alarm operator has a valid permit; and provides certification from a registered alarm contractor stating that the alarm operator received instruction regarding the proper operation and maintenance of the alarm system; and provides certification that the alarm contractor has inspected the offending alarm system and found it to be either free of defects or, if any defect has been found, that the alarm system has been repaired or replaced so that, if operated properly, the alarm system shall not falsely activate.