The cities of Atlanta, Sandy Springs and Dunwoody are rolling out registration programs as part of recently adopted false alarm ordinances.

If you live in Sandy Springs or Dunwoody, you have until Oct. 1 to register your burglar alarm or face a $100 fine. Registration of home alarms is free. In Dunwoody, registration of commercial alarms costs $25.

In Atlanta, the new ordinance takes effect Sept. 15, but the deadline to register is Feb. 1, 2014. The city imposes a $150 fee for residents who fail to register.

Under the new ordinances, excessive false alarm calls can result in fines ranging from $50 to $500, depending on the number of false alarms generated by a particular residence or business.

Registering your alarms

The cities of Atlanta, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs are requiring homeowners and business owners to register their home or business alarms.

If you live in Atlanta, register your alarms at: www.crywolf.us/atlantaga/. If you live in Dunwoody, register your alarms at: www.dunwoodyga.gov/alarm.

If you live in Sandy Springs, register your alarms at: www.sandyspringsga.gov/alarm.Sandy Springs residents who are unable to use the website can call 1-855-725-7101 or email the city at SandySpringsGA@publicsafetycorp.com. Dunwoody residents can call 1-866-889-2365 or email DunwoodyGA@publicsafetycorp.com. Atlanta residents can call 1-855-725-7102.

In Atlanta, the fines start with the second false alarm. In Dunwoody, fines kick in after the third false alarm. The costs escalate with successive false alarms.

The new registration and fines are part of a system being implemented by the cities in an attempt to reduce the number of false alarm calls.

Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan said the concern about false alarms isn’t new. “I do believe they will make a significant impact on our false alarm calls and I believe we will see a reduction in these types of calls,” Grogan said. “The issue of false alarms has not suddenly become a concern. It has been a concern for some time. However, it takes time to enact an ordinance such as this.”

City officials say false alarms are a drain on police resources.

“It is estimated that at least 95 percent of all alarm calls are false alarms,” a joint press release from Dunwoody and Sandy Springs said. “In 2012, 8,739 of 9,096 Sandy Springs police calls were false alarms. In 2012, Dunwoody police responded to more than 4,000 alarm calls and the majority of those were false alarms.

“Unlocked or loose doors and windows; children, visitors and pets; user error and equipment malfunction are among the most frequent causes of false alarms. When an alarm is activated accidentally, a quick call to the alarm company to cancel the alarm will prevent a false alarm registered against the facility.”

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com