MPD Looking to Collect $500,000 in Alarm Fees This Year

You can register your alarm with MPD here if you live within the city limits or fall within MPD's police jurisdiction.

Mobile, AL (WKRG)

Mobile Police officials are collecting more money than ever before from homeowners and businesses owners for security alarm registration. Police only began enforcing it last year. The police chief believes there are almost one million dollars in uncollected fees out there.

TSI Alarms and Audio in Mobile is one of the few security systems providers with a local footprint. Mark Moore is president. He, like a lot of people, says he was caught off guard when Mobile police said they were bringing back an annual fee for registering your alarm with the city.

"It's funny they're putting this back because I didn't know about it, and I've been doing this a long time," said Moore. He called the renewed enforcement unfortunately but necessary. Its unfortunate customers have this "new" fee but necessary given a high number of false alarm calls. Moore says one of the problems he sees in his business is several out-of-market security retailers who will sell systems in Mobile. Moore says that can contribute to false alarm calls that can't be resolved before the police are notified.

The ordinance on alarm registration hadn't been enforced in roughly two decades. Last year MPD began sending courtesy letters to homeowners and every business owner in Mobile reminding them to pay an annual registration fee. More than eight thousand letters have been sent. Mobile's Police Chief says this was part of standard housekeeping in the department.

"You know I think a disconnect or lack of communication between what city council was doing at the time and the police department on who exactly was responsible for enforcing the ordinance.

Between fiscal year 2016 and the start of fiscal year 2017, Mobile Police collected more than $138,000 dollars in fees--but they budgeted for half a million in 2017.

"We chose half a million dollars because we think that's what half compliance with the public would be," said Barber. Starting sometime this year Barber says the courtesy notices will end and they'll enforce it with fines. Some homeowners may resent the resurrection of the fee, but Barber says annual calls for false alarms cost them a lot more. Collections in this fiscal year slowed because the department said they nearly ran out of letters to send. Barber says they handle 30,000 false alarm calls a year. Each call takes two officers off the street for nearly an hour at a time.

Mobile County

Baldwin County

Northwest Florida