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Avoidable police alarms would bring higher fines in Amherst

Amherst plans to increase the fines it charges residential and commercial property owners for avoidable alarms that require police response, and have the higher fees kick in sooner than they do now.

Supervisor Brian Kulpa said police resources are wasted when alarms go off unnecessarily, primarily at businesses where employees haven't properly set the system.

Amherst police say 4,130 of the 5,239 alarms they handled in 2018 were false alarms, though it's unknown how many resulted in fines.

The changes, which require Town Board approval, set separate residential and commercial tiers.

The fines for avoidable alarms requiring fire company or emergency-medical responses stay the same.

The current rates for avoidable police alarms: one through five, no charge; six and seven, $25 each; eight or more, $50 each.

Proposed new commercial rates: one through three, no charge; four and five, $100 each; six or more, $500 each.

Proposed residential rates: first to third alarm, no charge; fourth is $25; fifth is $50; sixth to ninth is $100; 10 or more is $200 each.

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