San Ramon residents and businesses using alarm systems will face increased fees for false alarm calls in the coming months, due to a recently adopted measure by the City Council.
The Council voted 5-0 on Jan. 11 to approve a resolution calling for the repealing and replacement of false alarm fees in their existing ordinance on false alarms, raising the penalty for violators, in an effort to address what the police department has said is an unnecessary strain on resources in responding to false alarm calls from repeat offenders.
"Over the past few years, it has come to the attention of the City of San Ramon Police Department (SRPD) that habitual false alarms have unnecessarily occupied a significant amount of SRPD resources," the Jan. 11 staff report prepared by SRPD Chief Craig Stevens and Captain Denton Carlson said. "The San Ramon Police Department, working in parallel with the City Attorney’s Office, also identified that the City’s current Alarm Ordinance is outdated and that a comprehensive overhaul of the Ordinance is required."
The major change under the new fee schedule is that penalties are raised for those responsible for more than four false alarm calls, and that the new fees will be based on a year-long timeframe rather than the previous 90-day timeframe.
The fee schedule that will take effect March 11 will continue to see first-time false alarm offenders receive only a written warning, while a $50 fee will be in place for the second false in a calendar year; a $150 fee will be in place for the third, and a $300 fine will be in place for the fourth and any further false alarm calls.
Until 60 days have passed since the adoption of the ordinance, San Ramon residents are still bound by the current fee schedule. Under this, first and second offenders only receive written warnings; the third false alarm call in 90 days is subject to a $75 fee; the fourth a $225 fee, the fifth a $300 fee, and a fee of $225 for five or more false alarm calls in 90 days.
In addition to preventing the unnecessary use of resources caused by false alarm calls, SRPD officials asked for the measure in order to make the city's fee schedule comparable to those of neighboring agencies, Carlton said on Jan. 11.