SUFFOLK -- When you call 9-1-1 for help, seconds count.

So you can imagine how much of time is wasted on false calls for our first responders.

Experts say home security systems are actually one of the biggest reasons for false 9-1-1 calls.

Suffolk is the first city in Hampton Roads to require everyone with a home security system to register it with the city and have it meet Security Industry Association standards.

The reason behind this wasn't for the city to collect money with registration fees, but to reduce the number of false alarms requiring emergency personnel to respond.

A city spokesperson said the number of false alarms has gone down by almost half since it was started 5 years ago.

Residents aren't charged for their first violation, but fees go up by $50 every time after that.

Doug Hershberger services and installs home alarm systems throughout Hampton Roads.
He said if you're not careful, it's actually very easy to trip your own system.

'You know, the customer forgot to turn it off when they came in, they came in a different door and didn't hear the keypad going off, maybe they had someone come over to watch the dog and gave them a key, but didn't give them a code,' Hershberger said.

'It's all for the better really when it comes down to false alarms,' he added.

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