Everett City Council Approves False Alarm Ordinance

May 23, 2019

Everett Government


94% of alarm calls in Everett are false or unfounded.

We told you earlier this month about revisions to a false alarm ordinance proposed by Everett Police. Yesterday the Everett City Council agreed to those changes and approved an ordinance that would fine alarm companies for false burglary alarms. The earlier version of the ordinance had a requirement that every alarm owner pay an annual registration fee for having an alarm. The Everett City Council Public Safety Committee rejected that idea.

A bit of background. For the past 28 years Everett Police have not enforced the false alarm ordinance that has been on the books as they had no way to efficiently track false alarms. That changed when a new dispatching system made data collection for false alarms readily available. Money is also tight and the City Administration has been looking for ways to recover costs for services where it can. With alarm response tying up resources the re-implementation of false alarm fines was seen as a way to bring in needed revenue.

A few differences this time around include:

  • Instead of all alarm owners paying an annual alarm registration fee, only users who generate false alarms will face fees.
  • Doorbell camera notifications to a homeowner would not be considered a false alarm situation.
  • The cost of alarm registrations and false alarm fines would fall directly to alarm companies and not home owners.

    EPD data from 2017 and 2018 show officers respond to an average of 406 alarm calls per month with 94 percent determined to be false or unfounded. Less than one percent of all alarm calls in Everett result in a police report documenting that a criminal act occurred. EPD says their goal is to reduce the number of false alarms by 60 to 90 percent.

    The fines will not apply to hold up or panic alarms. Fire alarms are also not addressed under this ordinance. Government agencies are also exempt. Some of the most frequent false alarms in the city of Everett, Washington are generated by local government properties including the Everett Police Department, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and local school buildings. The argument was made that since these are already taxpayer funded it didn’t make sense to fine entities additional taxpayer dollars.

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    My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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