Crime & Courts

Wichita poised to hike false-alarm fees

In 2008, Wichita police and fire squads responded to about 25,000 calls generated by security systems and other alarms.

It was a lot of effort and money for few meaningful results — 98 percent were false alarms, according to the city.

Last year, Wichita's cash-strapped City Hall began talking about increasing the false-alarm fees.

It proposed an alarm registration fee of $3 a month for residences and $9 a month for businesses, for a projected $1.75 million boost to city coffers.

But after talking with alarm companies and others, the increase that City Council members will vote on Tuesday would require alarm users to pay a $25 annual registration fee.

The city is also proposing a matrix for police and fire false alarms that aims to reduce unnecessary calls.

Alarm system customers will still get one false call per year for free. But the cost climbs from there.

For security false alarms, the second call would be $40 and the fee would climb to $350 by the 10th call.

For fire false alarms, the second call would be $100 and the fee would climb to $750 by the 10th call.

That is expected to generate about $500,000 for the city.

City Manager Robert Layton said Friday that the discussions with alarm companies were a good give-and-take.

"They'd prefer we wouldn't do it," he said. "But they're not opposing it."

  Comments