(1) Definitions. In this Section, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) Alarm System. Any assembly of equipment, mechanical, electrical or battery operated, arranged to signal the occurrence of an illegal entry, theft or robbery requiring urgent attention and to which the Police Department of the City of Philadelphia is alerted for response.
(b) Alarm User. Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind in control of any building, premises, structure or facility or portion thereof wherein an alarm system is installed, operated or maintained.
(c) Automatic Telephone Dialing Alarm System. Any alarm system which utilizes an automatic dialing device for transmitting a recorded message which alerts the Police Department of the City of Philadelphia.
(d) Department. The Philadelphia Police Department.
(e) False Alarm.
(.1) An alarm system activated in the absence of an emergency, whether willfully or by inadvertence, negligence, or unintentional act, including any mechanical or electrical malfunction of the alarm system, to which the Police Department of the City of Philadelphia is alerted for response. A false alarm shall not include an alarm activated by: testing or repairing of telephone or electrical lines or equipment outside the premises; unusually violent conditions of nature or other extraordinary circumstances not reasonably subject to control by the alarm user; and an attempted illegal entry, theft or robbery where evidence of such attempt exists.
(.2) Multiple alarms received by the Police Department of the City of Philadelphia shall be considered a single alarm if the alarm system is deactivated or repaired within eight (8) hours of the initial activation.
(f) Intermediary. Any service which, upon an alarm system's activation, accepts and relays emergency messages by live voice to the Police Department of the City of Philadelphia on behalf of the alarm user.
(g) Procedural Response. The Philadelphia Police Department response to the activation of a properly registered alarm system based upon procedural priority of emergency response.
(2) Alarm System Registration.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any alarm user to install, operate or maintain an alarm system unless such alarm user has registered its alarm system.
(.1) All Alarm systems shall be registered on forms provided by the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
(.2) The application for alarm system registration shall contain information necessary for the enforcement of this Section and it shall be the responsibility of the alarm user to report any changes in the registration information to the Department of Licenses and Inspections within five (5) days of the change.
(.3) The annual fee for the alarm system registration shall be fifty ($50.00) dollars. Where one (1) or more alarm systems protects two (2) or more premises, a separate registration is required for each premises. On and after the effective date of the necessary implementing regulations, such fee shall be paid over to and collected by the intermediary, who shall pay such fees over to the Department upon such schedule and pursuant to such procedures as the Department shall establish, by regulation.
(.4) All alarm systems registered with the Department of Licenses and Inspections shall be installed, maintained and operated in compliance with all applicable provisions of The Philadelphia Code. All alarm users shall be responsible for the payment of any fees associated with the enforcement of this Section including alarm system registration fees, additional charges for false alarms and any costs associated with abatement.
(b) Every intermediary shall, before providing services to any alarm user, provide the Department of Licenses and Inspections with the name of such alarm user, together with the information relating to such alarm user required by subsection 9-305(2)(a)(.2) and as specified by the Department of Licenses and Inspections; and, on and after the effective date of the necessary implementing regulations, pursuant to subsection 9-305(2)(a)(.3), certification that the fee required by subsection 9-305(2)(a)(.3) has been paid. Such information shall be provided in a form acceptable to the Department of Licenses and Inspections, which may require the information to be provided in a machine readable form.
(c) An alarm user's duties under subsections 9-305(2)(a)(.1) and (.2) shall be deemed to be met if the alarm user's intermediary supplies the required information relating to such alarm user pursuant to subsection 9-305(2)(b).
(3) Alarm System Response; Determination of Validity.
(a) In consideration for the alarm system registration fee provided for in subsection (2)(a)(.3), the Department will provide procedural response to alarm systems provided said alarm systems are installed, operated and maintained in accordance with the provisions of this Section.
(b) Whenever an alarm system is activated, thereby requiring a procedural response, and the Department does respond, a police officer on the scene of the activated alarm system shall inspect the area protected by the alarm system and shall determine whether an emergency or a false alarm exists. If the police officer determines the alarm to be false, the officer shall make a report of the false alarm, a notification of which shall be mailed or delivered to the alarm user.
(c) Nothing contained herein shall be construed as a waiver of immunity or limitation upon the City in asserting any rights or defenses available to it under the Tort Claims Act, 42 Pa. C.S. §§ 88501 et seq.
(4) False Alarms.
(a) It is hereby found and declared that the activation of three (3) or more false alarms within an alarm user's registration year is excessive and constitutes a public nuisance. Each false alarm over two (2) within an alarm user's registration year is a violation of The Philadelphia Code, subject to the provisions set forth in subsections (7) and (8).
(b) Any false alarm over seven (7) in a given registration year may, in addition to the charges per occurrence, result in the revocation of the alarm user's registration in the following manner:
(.1) The Department of Licenses and Inspections shall notify the alarm user in writing by mail, that the alarm user's registration has been revoked. The notice shall set forth the reasons for revocation, and the date of revocation.
(.2) The alarm user may re-apply for registration of its alarm system in accordance with subsection (2) of this Section. Registration will be granted upon the alarm user's payment of the annual fee for registration, payment of any outstanding charges and certification from any alarm business approved by the Department that the alarm system is operating properly.
(c) In addition to the above, the Department of Licenses and Inspections is authorized to inspect any alarm system activating more than seven (7) false alarms in a given registration year and order the alarm user to take immediate corrective action. If the Department of Licenses and Inspections finds that the alarm user has failed to correct the alarm system within the time specified in the order, it may itself, or by contract, upon the issuance of an order by a court of competent jurisdiction correct or disconnect the alarm system, charging the cost thereof to the alarm user and with the approval of the Law Department collect such cost by lien or otherwise as may be authorized by law.
(5) Audible Alarm System. Alarm users shall equip audible alarm systems with a timing mechanism that will disengage the alarm after a maximum period of fifteen (15) minutes. Audible alarm systems without such timing mechanisms are prohibited.
(6) Automatic Telephone Dialing Alarm System. It shall be unlawful for any alarm user to install, operate or maintain an automatic telephone dialing alarm system. The Department of Licenses and Inspections is authorized to eliminate any automatic telephone dialing alarm system, charging the cost thereof to the alarm user.
(7) Administration and Enforcement.
(a) Except as otherwise provided by this Section, the Department shall enforce the provisions of this Section and may promulgate regulations for the implementation of this Section.
(b) For the purposes of enforcing the provisions of this Section with respect to alarm users, notice of violation shall be issued by police officers or any other person authorized to enforce ordinances, pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section 10-1606 of this Code. Contested charges shall be resolved, fines shall be imposed, and payments shall be collected and processed by the Director of Finance and the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication (or such other office, including the Office of Administrative Review, as the Director of Finance shall designate), all pursuant to the procedures set forth in Sections 10-1604 through 10-1609.
(c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, any alarm user to whom a notice of violation is issued may, within eight (8) days of receipt, pay seventy-five dollars ($75) with respect to a notice of violation of Section 9-305(4)(a) or pay one hundred and fifty dollars ($150) with respect to a notice of violation of Section 9-305(2)(a), (4)(b) or (5), in lieu of contesting the violation and in lieu of any other fines or penalties. The notice of violation shall contain an appropriate notice to the recipient of his or her right not to contest the violation and appropriate instructions and procedures for payment, as prescribed by the Director of Finance.
(a) The penalty for a violation of Section 9-305(4)(a) shall be one hundred fifty ($150.00) dollars for each violation. The penalty for violation of Section 9-305(2)(a), (4)(b) or Section 9-305(5) shall be three hundred ($300.00) dollars. Any other violation of this Section shall constitute a Class II Offense, pursuant to Section 1-109 of this Code.
(b) Each day a violation continues or is permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense for which a separate penalty may be imposed.
(c) Any fine or costs imposed by the court shall be entered as a judgement against the violator.
(9) Severability. If any provision or application of this Chapter is held invalid, the remainder of the Chapter and all other applications shall not be affected thereby.