Tucson ordinance targets false security alarms

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Fifty thousand people in the city of Tucson own alarm systems, and if you're one of those people, a new city ordinance in the works is targeting you and your wallet.

When your alarm goes off.  You expect police to be there.

But in Tucson the reality is TPD has been cut by $10 million this year alone.

And now council is considering charging you to protect yourself.

"We've cut back on TPD we shpuold be encouraging people to get alarm systems," said Greg Rice from Young Alarm.

But it's hard to encourage Tucson's 50,000 alarm owners to do that when a proposed ordinance calls for a new $20 annual fee. Plus, an $100 dollar for every false alarm.

"I'm not going to support something that forces people to write a bigger check," said Councilman Steve Kozachik.

Mayor and council still have questions about the ordinance. Not quite ready to sign off on it yet, local alarm companies also have serious problems with the proposal.

"If you want to fine the false alarms, fine the companies," said Kozachik.

Greg Rice of local security company Young Alarm says customers shouldn't bear the brunt of these new fees and fines. It could hurt local business.

"Oh, it's a definite concern right now.  Many of our customers have called and said if this thing passes we don't care we're quitting we're not paying another $20," said Rice.

But the larger companies, like ADT, want the new fees on customers.  And Kozachik says its the council's job to protect small business.

"It's another question of a David and Goliath.  Are we going to emit fines that are going to hurt local business or help businesses by drafting an ordinance," said

Perhaps most troubling, the proposal is expected to raise a million dollars for the city.  Money the council is counting on. 

If the council doesn't pass the ordinance they'll have to find a million dollars elsewhere.

And finding that sum of money could be an even greater cause for alarm.

The council won't take up the alarm ordinance again until September.