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Victoria proposing increase in penalties for false alarms

By Melissa Crowe
Dec. 15, 2013 at 6:15 a.m.
Updated Dec. 16, 2013 at 6:16 a.m.


COUNCIL WILL ALSO ...

• Take a final vote to change the city's tree ordinance clearance requirement

• Vote wether to grant two lots in Swan Crossing to Habitat for Humanity

• Decide whether to spend $36,000 in hotel occupancy tax for advertising with Texas Country Reporter

IF YOU GO

• 5 p.m. Tuesday

• City Council Chambers, 107 W. Juan Linn St.

• Victoriatx.org

The penalties for false burglar and fire alarms in Victoria could soon double in cost.

Previously, the Victoria Police Department imposed a $60 penalty for a resident or business owner's ninth false alarm.

However, if Victoria City Council approves the department's proposal, fees for false burglar alarms would increase to $100 on the fourth false alarm, while fees for false fire alarms would increase to $125 on the fourth false call.

If approved, the increase in fees would be effective Dec. 27.

City spokesman O.C. Garza said false calls continue to be a major issue within the city.

"It ties up police department time," he said. "It ties up the time a police officer could spend responding to real emergencies and situations in which police assistance is needed."

The proposed increase in fees is long overdue, Police Chief J.J. Craig said.

His department responds to more than 3,000 false alarm calls every year, Craig said.

"It is a drain on our on-duty resources," Craig said. "We spend a lot of time and effort responding to all calls.

"We are always looking at ways to be more efficient and more effective with our resources," Craig said.

The police chief said it is the responsibility of businesses and residents to make sure their alarm systems are operating correctly.

"A lot of these are on Monday mornings when a business reopens after a weekend," Craig said, noting a couple of businesses on North Navarro Street have a history of dozens of false alarm calls during the year.

"Obviously, we're going to respond. We're just asking businesses to work with us.

"Fix your systems. Fix your process so that we know when we respond, it's an actual emergency."

Other fees set to increase are inspection fees for the fire marshal's office, permit fees for the planning services department, library fines and increases to parks rentals.

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