[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Mount Vernon 4-8-1987, approved 4-9-1987. Amendments noted where applicable.]
An intolerable amount of police resources are being expended in responding to alarms that have been activated other than by the commission of a crime. The purpose of this chapter is to avoid the current waste of police resources by reducing the number of false alarms to which the Department of Public Safety must respond.
Whenever used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM BUSINESS
- Any business operated by a person or corporation that engages in the selling, leasing, maintaining, installing, repairing, altering, moving, replacing or servicing of an alarm device or system.
- ALARM SYSTEM
- Any device or assembly of equipment and devices designed or intended to signal the presence of a situation requiring the urgent attention of the Department of Public Safety.
- ALARM USER
- Any person on whose premises an alarm system is used, operated or maintained, except for alarm systems on motor vehicles.
- AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
- Any alarm system which automatically sends over the telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded voice message or coded signal indicating the existence of an emergency situation.
- CENTRAL ALARM STATION
- Any facility operated by a private corporation that owns or leases a system of alarm devices, which facility is manned by operators who receive, record or validate alarm signals and relay information about such validated signals to the Department of Public Safety when appropriate.
- The City of Mount Vernon.
- The Commissioner of Public Safety of the City of Mount Vernon.
- The County of Westchester.
- DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
- The Department of Public Safety of the City of Mount Vernon.
- FALSE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation, improper usage or the negligence of the owner or lessee of an alarm system or through the error or negligence of employees, guests or agents of the owner or lessee of the premises. It shall include all alarm signal activation incidents in which investigation by the Department of Public Safety reveals no evidence of the existence of an emergency condition. Those alarm signals that investigation reveals to have been triggered by physical damage to the protected premises as a result of hurricane, tornado, earthquake or other violent natural phenomenon and line trouble signals received via dedicated telephone lines are excluded from the definition of "false alarm."
- Any person, partnership, corporation or unincorporated association.
- PROPRIETARY SYSTEM
- Any alarm system that does not transmit signals to a monitoring system off premises or to a law enforcement agency but sounds at a control center on the protected premises and is under the supervision of the proprietor of the protected premises. When such an alarm monitors conditions that may require the response of the Department of Public Safety personnel, it becomes an alarm system as defined in this chapter.
Every alarm system maintained within the City equipped with an externally audible local signaling device shall be provided with an automatic cutoff to silence the audible external signal at the end of a period not to exceed 15 minutes from the time at which the signaling device is activated in residential systems and 30 minutes in commercial systems.
After June 1, 1987, every alarm system installed within the City shall be equipped with a rechargeable, standby power supply system sufficient to maintain the alarm system in a state of readiness to detect the conditions it was installed to monitor for a period of at least four hours in the event of a loss of power supplied by either the public utility system or the customary power system provided for the premises. Such standby power supply must also retain sufficient energy to power local audible or visible signaling devices at rated volume or intensity for at least 10 minutes.
All alarm business personnel who engage in selling, installing, servicing or maintaining alarm systems within the City, when engaged in their trade, shall carry a county alarm agent identification card issued pursuant to Article XV of Chapter 863 of the Laws of Westchester County.
After June 1, 1987, it shall be unlawful to maintain any automatic dialing device programmed to access any Department of Public Safety telephone number.
Persons owning or leasing an automatic dialing device may program the device to transmit its signal to a central alarm station, an answering service or any other consenting third party.
The Department of Public Safety shall not be required to respond to any alarm signal transmitted in violation of this section.
It shall be a violation of this chapter to cause or permit the activation of a false alarm signal. The alarm owner, lessee or user shall be held accountable for all false alarms originating from the alarm user's system and shall be fully liable for all charges and penalties arising therefrom.
The Commissioner of Public Safety shall be empowered to take whatever action is reasonably necessary to prevent an activated false alarm signaling device from interfering with the Department of Public Safety's ability to receive any additional alarm signal or from interfering unnecessarily with the tranquility of the surrounding community.
The following shall be penalties for the offense of a violation of provisions of this chapter:
For maintaining an automatic dialing device or system programmed to access a telephone number of the Department of Public Safety in violation of § 83-6A, a fine of $50 for each time a signal is received from such device.
For failure of alarm business personnel to obtain an alarm identification card as required by § 83-4, a fine of not less than $75 nor more than $250.
If any section, paragraph, clause, phrase or provision of this chapter shall be adjudged invalid or held unconstitutional, the same shall not affect the validity of this chapter as a whole or any part or provision other than the part so decided to be invalid or unconstitutional.
This chapter shall take effect June 1, 1987.