For years the Police Department would send officers to several thousand alarm calls a year that would turn out to be “false alarms”. These “false alarms” were usually the result of a mechanical problem, employee error, or weather related. Officers were responding unnecessarily to incidents when their time could have been used more productively elsewhere in the city.
Since the Alarm Program's inception in 1996, the number of “false alarms” has been reduced. Businesses and homeowners are now required to apply for an alarm permit issued by the police department. Alarm Installation companies are also required to meet quality control standards that have been established by the police department to ensure that their customers are receiving first rate service. Repeat offenders who fail to correct false alarm problems are billed for the police department’s emergency response. Each business or residence is allotted two free false alarm responses every 12 calendar months by the police department before being billed.
With the reduction of "false alarms," fines have gradually decreased each year as well. In 2001 false alarm offenders were fined $180,000 in fines. In 2011, offenders were fined nearly $76,000; the following year, approximately $74,000 in fines were levied against noncompliant alarm locations. All payments were made to the City's Finance Department. Part of the reason of the significant drop in fines comes from owners/tenants who are properly managing and taking care of their alarm system on the premise.
The CSO assigned to the Alarm Unit meets frequently with alarm companies along with business owners and homeowners to assist them with their questions and problems. Training sessions are provided for citizens and business owners on the proper care and maintenance of their alarm systems. The unit will also assist with the proper placement of alarm sensors, control panels, etc. For more information, please contact CSO Taylor Carpenter at (408) 615-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
False Alarms Brochure (PDF)