Police sound an alarm: Ordinance will be enforced

By Cary Shuman

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Winthrop Police Lieutenant Paul DeLeo has announced that due to the increasing number of false burglar alarms in the town, the department will start enforcing the town ordinance [by-law] for malfunctioning or needless alarms – which means fines will be assessed beginning with the fourth false alarm at a home or business.

DeLeo said the enforcement of the long-standing ordinance will begin today [October 1, 2009].

“We’re going to begin to enforce this by-law very thoroughly due to the increase in alarms and the decrease in [police] personnel,” said DeLeo. “Every burglar alarm that goes off – be it a house or a store of whatever, we have to respond to it.”

DeLeo said that the department has noticed that it is receiving many alarm calls and “several houses and businesses have alarms that are constantly going off.”

The fines will be assessed to homes and businesses as follows:

The fourth false alarm in a 12-month period will result in a $100 fine; every false alarm after that will result in a $100 fine; after the 20th false alarm, a $200 fine will be assessed.

Homeowners and business owners will receive a warning notice from the Police Department after the second false alarm.

“If they don’t rectify whatever the problem is, when the fourth false alarm occurs, they will be fined $100,” said DeLeo.

The lieutenant said a few years ago the department contacted a number of alarm companies. “They all said the same thing: alarms only go off if someone is breaking into a home or business; there is a malfunction; or the people using the alarm aren’t doing it properly.

“So if your child or your new employee doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s going to cost you money – it’s as simple as that,” DeLeo said.

According to the ordinance, a malfuction or needless alarm is defined as: any failure of the alarm system to operate in a normal or usual manner, namely, for the purpose of signaling an alarm which requires the presence of police to protect life, property, and safety of persons from harm or damage.

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