Repeat false alarm offenders could soon face serious fines in Horry County

Updated: Oct. 14, 2019 at 11:15 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - If you have a security system you could be facing a pretty serious fine if you have an excessive amount of false alarm calls within a year.

When a security alarm system goes off, it immediately alerts police and fire crews there’s an emergency within the business or home, but many times they arrive and there is no fire or crime happening.

These false alarm calls are happening on average more than 13,000 times a year, every year, for the past three years in Horry County.

“So that takes away resources from critical incidents and situations where we need those folks to be," said Horry County spokesperson Kelly Moore.

Moore said it’s time for tougher rules and regulations when it comes to these false alarms.

“If folks do have an alarm issue or an alarm is repeatedly going off and they aren’t doing anything to fix it, there are consequences for that," said Moore.

E-911 dispatchers, firefighters, police officers, and others are all working and responding to these calls.

Horry County Council members will vote on the first reading of an amendment to an existing ordinance that aims to keep the folks working in public service from responding to false alarms.

It proposes if a homeowner or business has three or more false alarm calls within a year, they will receive a civil offense and public nuisance with a fine up to $200 each alarm after that will be considered a separate infraction.

But if the homeowner or business has 10 or more false alarms within a year, those fines will be much higher.

“Imagine if you’ve had a false alarm happen more than 10 times as we’ve outlined in the safety proposal how much of the county’s resources you’ve taken up? The trucks, the cars, the vehicles, the personnel that’s responding, that person could potentially be responsible for reimbursing the county for those expenses," Moore said.

Along with this, businesses that have more than 10 false alarm calls may subject to revocation or non-renewal of a business license.

The council will vote on the ordinance during Tuesday’s meeting.

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