New Watervliet law fines homeowners, businesses for false alarm calls

WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A new local law aimed at reducing the number of false alarms first responders are called to has some people up in arms.

Watervliet officials said they respond to false alarm calls too often. To put a stop to it, businesses and homeowners will now be fined every time their alarm system accidentally goes off.

The first offense could cost $100. The second offense could cost $200, and the third offense could cost $300.

“I think we’re trying to make it aware that this is a serious thing,” Councilman Charles Patricelli said. “When you’re calling in to an alarm, especially possibly a burglary or a robbery of some sort, you want it to be able to be something that’s responsive.”

Officials said it’s not a cost issue, but rather a nod to safety as police and firefighters speed through traffic to respond to the calls. But they said many of those calls are not real emergencies.

“Only for someone to say, ‘Whoops. Sorry it was just a mistake,’” Patricelli said.

Jeff Foster has lived in Watervliet his entire life. He doesn’t necessarily agree with the fine. Because of the new law, his alarm system is set up to contact him instead of police when it goes off.

“I do have pets, so occasionally if a dog or cat or something like that tripped your alarm, my worry was that I’d be fined $100,” he said.

However, Patricelli said exceptions will be made depending on the situation.

“A person who says, ‘I’m sorry. I made a mistake,’ and it’s their first time, the police have the ability to say okay, no problem,” he said.

The new law went into effect immediately after Thursday night’s council meeting.

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