With more houses being fitted for home security systems, police are complaining that they are being swamped with false alarms.

"About 98 percent of alarms in the city are false," said Ogden police Lt. William Stettler. "False alarms are costing the police department around $200,000 in man-hours each year, which is a huge drain on our resources."As a result, Stettler said he's drafting a stricter ordinance regulating alarm systems.

Currently, officers will respond to as many as five false alarms at a house or business. After that, the department charges the home or business owner $50 per call.

Stettler wants an ordinance like the one passed in South Ogden last year that charges customers $50 for the third false alarm. After that, the fine increases by $50 for each subsequent call.

He also wants the alarm companies to report back to police why the alarm went off and what corrective action would be taken to prevent future false alarms.

Stettler said the alarm systems can deter crime, but the frequency of false alarms could actually become dangerous.

In 1997, the department responded to 3,823 false alarms - a 32 percent increase from the previous year.

Stettler said officers dashing across town for an unknown situation can put the public at risk. He said the reason for the numerous false alarms is that alarm companies are failing to fully train their customers.

Other cities have already adopted ordinances to address the problem.

Salt Lake City saw success when it passed an ordinance in 1994 limiting alarm users to four false alarms before charging them $100 for each additional one.