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Violators to Be Fined After 3rd False Alarm

November 22, 1998|ROBERTO J. MANZANO

In an attempt to discourage false alarms and wasted law enforcement efforts, Agoura Hills will begin fining violators starting Jan. 1.

After issuing three warnings, the city will charge offenders $100 for the fourth violation, $200 for the fifth and $500 for the sixth during one calendar year.

This year, between January and September, about 95% of the alarm calls handled by the Sheriff's Department in Agoura Hills were false, said Greg Ramirez, an assistant to the city manager.

"It's a lot of resources responding to things of no consequence," said Lt. Tom Martin of the Malibu-Lost Hills sheriff's station.

Many of the false alarms are caused by human error, such as improperly set equipment, Martin said. False alarms are also common during bad weather, including heavy rainstorms or Santa Ana winds, he said. Because the same offenders are responsible for many of the false alarms, Martin said, fines may work best.

"Before there were no consequences. So what was the motivation for them to repair [the equipment]?" Martin said.

In nearby Calabasas, officials began fining false-alarm violators last year and have had good results, said Calabasas City Manager Charles Cate.

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