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 USA

More and more cities have introduced bylaws, ordinances or policies designed to recover the costs of responding to false dispatches. The following bylaw information are as current and as accurate as possible. If you have more information on any of these bylaws 
below, see a mistake or know of bylaws not listed below, please
e-mail

Arlington  VA,    Austin  TX,    Baltimore  MD,    Bellevue  WA,    Cincinnati  OH,    Dallas  TX,    Elgin  IL,     Kansas City  MO ,   

Orlando  FL,    Philadelphia  PA,    Portland  OR,    San Antonio  TX,    San Francisc  CA,    Seattle  WA

   BACK TO FALSE ALARM  PAGES

BACK TO FALSE ALARM FINES PAGE


 

Arlington

Alarm User Registration

  • Every security alarm system must be registered with the police department. Registration does not apply to either fire or car alarm systems.
  • Your alarm/monitoring company or the FAU can provide you with alarm registration information at the time of sale or installation.
  • If you do not have an alarm/monitoring company, you may obtain registration information directly from the FAU.
  • A non-refundable, one-time $30.00 registration fee must be paid with each commercial registration; residential registration is free. A separate registration is required for each tenant of a multi-tenant residential or commercial building using an alarm system. The owner or property manager of an apartment complex that provides alarm systems as an amenity must obtain a separate registration for each individual unit. The fee shall be one (1) dollar per unit, but in no case shall it be less than $30.00.
  • Alarm registrations are not transferable from one alarm user to another or from one location to another. However, if you change alarm companies, mailing address, or contact person information, you are not required to re-register your alarm system. You are required to advise the FAU in writing of said changes.
  • You and/or your alarm company must notify the FAU when there is a relocation or change in ownership. The old registration must be cancelled and a new one issued.

What Your Alarm Company Should Do For You
In an effort to reduce false alarms, your alarm company is required by law to take certain proactive measures:

  • Your alarm/monitoring company must attempt to verify every alarm signal except for hold-up alarms before requesting that police be dispatched.
  • If it is determined that an alarm signal is false, your alarm/monitoring company must immediately attempt to cancel the police dispatch. You cannot personally cancel a police dispatch unless you initiated the call.
  • Your alarm company must not request police dispatch to an alarm activation until the alarm system is properly registered.
  • When you have a new alarm system installed in your home or business, your alarm company should provide you with a completed and signed installation certificate. This certificate affirms that:
    • The system meets or exceeds installation standards.
    • All persons responsible for the operation of the system have been fully trained on its proper use.
    • The alarm business has explained the requirements for registration and has provided the alarm user with a copy of the registration form.

How the Law Works
Every alarm user is allowed two "free" false alarms per calculated 12-month period (period starts with the date of registration or first false alarm). On the third false alarm in this calculated period, two things may happen. First, the alarm user may be required to have the alarm system inspected at their expense, providing proof of the inspection to the Police Department within thirty days of the request.

Secondly, when an alarm user has three false alarms in a calculated period, false alarm response fees are imposed. The response fee begins at $50.00 for the third false alarm. The response fees will escalate gradually to $300.00 for the eighth (8th) false alarm response. For the eighth and each additional alarm thereafter, the response fee will be $300.00 per false alarm.

Please refer to the False Alarm Response Fee Schedule below for more detailed information.

On the eighth false alarm in a calculated 12 month period, the alarm user must have the alarm upgraded to meet current County installation standards.

You will be considered in violation of the alarm ordinance if you fail to:

  • Register your alarm system.
  • Pay assessed false alarm fees.
  • Inspect or upgrade the alarm system as required.

False Alarm Response Fee Schedule
Below are fees charged to alarm users for police response to false alarm activations. Fees apply only if the police are dispatch to the alarm location and the signal is false.

Response Cost
First FREE
Second FREE
Third $50.00
Fourth $100.00
Fifth $150.00
Sixth $200.00
Seventh $250.00
Eighth and each 
response thereafter
$300.00

The fee schedule is based on a 12 month calculation period. The 12 month calculation period means the 12 month period of time commencing with the date of registration issuance or the date of the first false alarm response (for non-registered alarm systems).

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Austin

Travis County, Williamson County and the City of Austin all have adopted laws that regulate the operation of alarm systems. The City of Austin requires an alarm permit for each residence or business that operates an alarm system. The Austin Police Department (APD) issues these permits on a yearly basis.

City of Austin Alarm Permit Fees

Type of Permit Amount Term
Residential
(New or Renewal)
$25 12 Months
Business
(New or Renewal)
$50 12 Months

City of Austin False Alarm Fees

Type of Call No Fee Charge Amount For Each
False Alarm
Burglary First 5 calls
consecutive
12 month period
$50
Robbery
Panic
First 2 calls
consecutive
12 month period
$100

City of Austin Penalties for Operating an Alarm System Without a Permit

  • $200 for each response to a non-permitted location.
  • Operator is subject to Class C misdemeanour charges.

Transition Plan for Citizens in Newly Annexed Areas

For new citizens annexed into the city this year who operate an alarm system, the City of Austin will honor current permits from Travis or Williamson counties as follows:

  • If the permit has an unexpired term, the permit holder may submit the current valid permit from Travis or Williamson counties along with a City of Austin application. APD will issue a City of Austin permit for the remainder of the original period. The period will not exceed 12 months. There will be no additional charge.
  • The permit holder must submit a completed City of Austin alarm permit application and a copy of the original permit, or other documentation showing permit number and expiration date of a county permit.
  • In the event a new resident has a false alarm call before he or she has the opportunity to obtain a city permit, APD will honor a current valid permit from Travis or Williamson counties for the remainder of the original permit period or six months, whichever is less.
  • False alarms received during this period will be counted as false alarms for purposes of determining charges for excessive false alarm calls. More than five false burglary alarm calls during a continuous 12-month period is considered excessive. More than two false robbery or panic alarms during a continuous 12-month period is considered excessive.
  • The $200 fee for operating an alarm without a permit will not be charged during this period and the user will not be subject to Class C misdemeanor charges as allowed in the ordinance.
  • If the operator of an alarm system does not have a current valid permit from Travis or Williamson counties, he or she should complete an application and submit the appropriate fee as soon as possible. All criminal and civil penalties will apply until such time as a valid City of Austin alarm permit is issued.

To obtain a City of Austin alarm permit application: call the Alarm Unit at 974-5730.

Austin Police Department
Alarm Unit
P.O. Box 684279
Austin, Texas 78768-4279

 

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Baltimore

Authority for the Baltimore County's False Alarm Reduction Program is found in the Baltimore County Code, 2003, Article 13, Title 11, Subtitle 2. This legislation was enacted in 1998 and amended in 2001

To reduce the escalating rate of false alarms, the Baltimore County Council passed legislation that requires alarm system users to register their systems with the Alarm Reduction Team. The Alarm Reduction Team was established to administer Baltimore County Code, 2003, Article 13, Title 11, Subtitle 2 and reduce the number of false alarms that police personnel respond to each year. The Alarm Reduction Team:

  • Assists alarm system users and alarm companies in reducing false alarms in Baltimore County
  • Registers alarm companies
  • Registers residential and commercial alarm systems
  • Provides advance notification of registration renewal dates
  • Sends notification of false alarms and bills alarm users for excessive false alarms
  • Handles written appeals regarding the designation of an alarm activation as false
  • Conducts an Alarm Reduction School to educate alarm systems users on the False Alarm legislation and the proper maintenance and use of their alarm systems

Failure to register your alarm system with the Alarm Reduction Team may result in a $500 Civil Citation.

Baltimore County Alarm Reduction Team
400 Washington Avenue, Room 149
Towson, Maryland 21204-4665
410-887-4951
Fax: 410-821-7920

DETAILS
 

 

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Bellevue

  • required no-fee registration;
  • attempted Central Station alarm verification by the central station prior to dispatch;
  • accepted alarm cancellations by the police after the dispatch;
  • implemented a one-year restricted response after the sixth false alarm (excluding response to panic and hold-up alarms); and
  • conducted alarm user awareness classes targeting residential users.

False Burglary Alarm Policy

Title 9.16 of the Bellevue City Code provides for corrective administrative action for the purpose of reducing false alarm occurrences. This title covers burglary and robbery alarms only. The following is a summary of the requirements of this title.

 1.        It is unlawful for a person to have an alarm system unless they have on file with the Bellevue Police Department an "Alarm/Emergency Card" listing authorized persons to be contacted in order to abate said alarm system when necessary.

 

2.        During a six-month period of time, commencing with a first alarm, the following police response policy and fine structure will apply:

 

  • 1st Response: Officer will leave a notice of alarm activation. The alarm user will additionally be notified by letter of alarm activation, and provided a copy of  the “False Alarm Ordinance and Prevention Guide".  No fee will be charged

 

  • 2nd Response: The alarm user will again be notified of activation of the alarm.  $25.00 fee will be charged.  The chief of police may direct the person having or maintaining such burglary and/or robbery alarm system to, within five working days after notice to do so, make a written report to the chief of police on prescribed forms setting forth the cause of such false alarm, the corrective action taken, whether and when such alarm system has been inspected by authorized service personnel, and such other information as the chief of police may reasonably require to determine the cause of such false alarm, any mitigating circumstances and corrective action necessary.

 

  • 3rd Response: The alarm user will again be notified of activation of the alarm.  $75.00 fee will be charged, and if such third false alarm or any such succeeding false alarm occurs as a result of failure to take necessary corrective action prescribed under “2nd Response” of this section, the chief of police may order the person having or maintaining the burglary and/or robbery alarm system to disconnect such alarm system until the prescribed corrective action is taken and certification of such corrective action is provided to the police department, provided that no disconnection shall be ordered relative to any premises required by law to have an alarm system in operation.

 

  • 4th Response: The alarm user will again be notified of activation of the alarm. $100.00 fee will be charged for this response and for all succeeding responses.  “2nd Response” and “3rd Response” sections continue to apply.

3. Any person maintaining an alarm system and found to be in violation of the conditions of this ordinance shall have the right of appeal as prescribed in the ordinance. Questions concerning this ordinance may be directed to:

 

Community Services & Investigations Section
Bellevue Police Department
P. O. Box 90012 Bellevue, WA. 98009-9012
(425) 452-6915

 

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Cincinnati

Every alarm system user, both  residential and  non-residential must register with the False Alarm Reduction Unit.  Alarm registrations are Alarm Location (address) and Alarm User (name) specific and are not transferable. 

The False Alarm Reduction Unit must collect a fee from the alarm user for false alarms. For a registered alarm system the fees begin with the third false alarm during a 365 day period.  The fees range from $50.00 to $800.00.  The penalty for operating an unregistered alarm system is $100.00. All false alarms on an unregistered system are $800 each.

FALSE ALARM FEE SCHEDULE FOR REGISTERED ALARM SYSTEMS
(Based on a 365 day period)

RESPONSE  FEE AMOUNT PER RESPONSE

1st    none
2nd    none
3rd    $50.00*
4th    $75.00
5th    $100.00
6th    $150.00
7th    $200.00
8th    $300.00
9th    $400.00
10th    $500.00
11th or more   $800.00

*Fee may be waived if user attends an Alarm User Awareness School offered by the Cincinnati Police Department

ALARM SCHOOL
Anyone may register to attend the Alarm User Awareness School offered by the Police Department free of charge.  The school gives valuable information on the prevention of false alarms and understanding your alarm system.  For registration information, contact the FARU at (513) 352-1272.

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Dallas

Burglar / Security Alarm Permit
A security alarm permit is required if you have a security alarm that is audible and/or monitored to provide police response. The annual permit fee is $50 for a residence and $100 for a business permit. Call Special Collections Customer Service at (214) 670-3438 to obtain a permit application.
A permitted alarm site is allowed five free false alarms in a twelve month period. Each false alarm above five in a twelve month period is charged at $50.

Fire / Medical Alarm Registration
The City of Dallas requires that Fire/Medical alarms be registered with the Dallas Fire Department after the first false Fire/Medical alarm is initiated at an alarm site. Registration Fee is $10. An alarm service fee is charged of $50 for resident and $100 for business for each false fire alarm notification in excess of one per month. A service fee of $100 is charged for each false medical alarm in excess of one per year. For information on registration and waiver of false alarm calls, contact the Dallas Fire Department at (214) 670-4514. For information on billing, contact the Special Collection Division of the City Controllers Office at (214) 670-3438, Monday through Friday, between 8:15 A.M. and 5:15 P.M.

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Elgin

Elgin implemented several measures:

  • an alarm user permit requirement (at no charge);
  • a program whereby an alarm company representative visits the consumer, completes a 15-point checklist and returns the checklist to the police;
  • a $300 fine if response is made to a non-permitted system;
  • a 30-minute timeout on outside audibles;
  • a fine schedule as follows: one to four alarms, no charge; five to eight, $100 per false alarm; nine to 10, $200 per false alarm; more than 10, $300 plus revocation of permit;
  • an appeals process that provides for the reinstatement of the alarm permit upon proof of effort to comply (although a subsequent false alarm will again revoke the permit);
  • a policy of refusing to respond after 10 false alarms;
  • an alarm trading process; and
  • meetings with institutions with chronic false alarms (such as banks).

In response, the city saw a reduction of almost 30 percent in false alarms; the false alarm rate per system per year went from 2.57 to 1.12. Among the top 100 chronic offenders, the department's get-tough policy resulted in 50 percent fewer false alarms.

 

 

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Kansas City

There are three types of alarm permits: Residential Permits, Business Permits and Master Permits.

Residential Permits are issued to individual homes, Business Permits are issued to commercial sites and Master Permits are issued to apartment complexes of six or more units where an alarm system is included as an amenity. The initial fee for all alarm permits is $45.00.
 

This alarm ordinance applies to all alarm users with systems which dial a monitoring service (which then dials the Police or Fire Department) or those that dial the Police or Fire Department directly (radio room alarms) This ordinance does not apply to "local" alarms-those on motor vehicles or other property which merely emit a noise. There is no fee for an alarm permit if it is applied for within 10 days of installation or conversion of the alarm system. A late fee of $25.00 will be charged if an alarm user does not obtain a permit within those 10 days.

Residential and not-for-profit alarm users are allowed 3 free false alarms per calendar year. After the third false alarm, any additional false alarm incidents will be assessed a penalty fee as follows:

  • 4-6 false alarms-$50 each incident
  • 7-9 false alarms-$75 each incident
  • 10-12 false alarms-$100 each incident
  • 13 and each subsequent incident-$125

Business alarm users are allowed 3 free false alarms per calendar year. After the third false alarm, any additional false alarm incidents will be assessed a penalty fee as follows:

  • 4-6 false alarms-$100 each incident
  • 7-9 false alarms-$150 each incident
  • 10-12 false alarms-$200 each incident
  • 13 and each subsequent incident-$250

Radio room alarm users are allowed 6 free false alarms per calendar year. After the sixth false alarm, any additional false alarm incidents will be assessed a penalty fee as follows:

  • 7-9 false alarms-$100 each incident
  • 10-12 false alarms-$200 each incident
  • 13 and each subsequent incident-$250

Multiple false alarm incidents occurring on the same calendar day constitute one false alarm.

Failure to obtain a permit is a misdemeanour. Alarm permits are not transferable. Permits are valid for a calendar year and must be renewed by January 31 of each year. If any information furnished on the applications changes, the alarm user must notify the Alarm Coordinator in writing within 10 days of the change. This is also necessary if an alarm monitoring service is disconnected.

If you have any questions about the alarm ordinance, call the Alarm Coordinator at (913) 573-6109.

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Orlando

ARTICLE II
INTRUSION ALARM SYSTEMS

Sec. 41.05. False Alarm Warning Notice; Service Fee.
(1) Each time the Orlando Police Department responds to a false intrusion alarm due to system mal-function or when no reason can be determined for such false alarm, the Orlando Police Department shall issue a false alarm warning notice.

(2) A service fee for excessive false intrusion alarms shall be charged as follows:
(a) No service fee shall be charged for the first three (3) false alarms occurring within a twelve (12) month period, calculated from the date of the first such alarm.
(b) Each false alarm in excess of three (3) and up to and including six (6) within a twelve (12) month period shall result in a service fee of $50.00 (fifty dollars) per false alarm.
(c) Each false alarm in excess of six (6) within a twelve (12) month period shall result in a service fee of $100.00 (one hundred dollars) per false alarm.

(3) No service fee shall be assessed if the false alarm is:
(a) Caused by an electrical storm, hurricane, tornado or other act of God where there is clear evidence of physical damage to the alarm system;
(b) Caused by the intermittent disruption of telephone circuits beyond the control of the alarm site owner;
(c) Caused by electrical power disruption or failure in excess of two (2) hours beyond the control of the alarm site owner;
(d) At a location where the Orlando Police Department has in-stalled a CATCH alarm.

(4) All false alarm service fees are due and payable within thirty (30) days from date of invoice. In the event that false alarm service fees are not paid as required by this chapter, the Orlando Police Department may refer the matter to the City's Office of Legal Affairs for appropriate legal action.

(5) A person commits an offense in violation of this chapter if such person suffers or permits false alarms in excess of three (3) within a twelve (12) month period, each such false alarm constituting a separate violation.
 

ARTICLE III
FIRE OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL ALARM SYSTEMS

Sec. 41.06. False Alarm Warning Notice; Service Fee.
(1) Each time the Orlando Fire Department responds to a false alarm due to system malfunction or when no reason can be deter-mined for such false alarm, the Orlando Fire Department shall issue a warning notice.

(2) A service fee for excessive false alarms shall be charged as follows:
(a) No service fee shall be charged for the first three (3) false alarms occurring within a twelve (12) month period, calculated from the date of the first such alarm;
(b) Each false alarm in excess of three (3) and up to and including six (6) within a twelve (12) month period shall result in a service fee of $100.00 (one hundred dollars) per false alarm;
(c) Each false alarm in excess of six (6) within a twelve (12) month period shall result in a service fee of $200.00 (two hundred dollars) per false alarm.

(3) No service fee shall be assessed if the false alarm is:
(a) Caused by an electrical storm, hurricane, tornado or other act of God where there is clear evidence of physical damage to the alarm system;
(b) Caused by the intermittent disruption of telephone circuits beyond the control of the alarm site owner;
(c) Caused by electrical power disruption or failure in excess of two (2) hours beyond the control of the alarm site owner;

(4) All false alarm service fees are due and payable within thirty (30) days from date of invoice. In the event that false alarm service fees are not paid as required by this chapter, the Orlando Fire Department may refer the matter to the City's Office of Legal Affairs for appropriate legal action.

(5) A person commits an offense in violation of this chapter if such person suffers or permits false alarms in excess of three (3) within a twelve (12) month period, each such false alarm constituting a separate violation.

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Philadelphia

Philadelphia's program called for

  • an annual $35 registration fee;
  • the acceptance of alarm cancellations;
  • three free false alarms per registration year;
  • a $25 charge for four or more activations;
  • a $100 fine for the use of an unregistered system;
  • possible revocation of the user's registration following the activation of more than seven false alarms in a registration year;
  • the imposition of judgments and liens (through municipal court) of up to $300 per violation when fines go unpaid; and
  • administrative hearings in which violations can be disputed (similar to parking ticket dispute resolution process).

In addition, monthly meetings are held with alarm companies and city officials, including the deputy police commissioner, judges and the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication to ensure consistent enforcement.

 

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Portland

Annual Alarm Permit Fees

Residential Permit - $25
Fee is waived for residents who are age 62+.  Proof of age is  required.
Panic and audible systems require a separate permit.
 
Commercial Permit - $125
 
 
False Alarm Fees
(per permit year)
  • First False Alarm - No charge
  • Second False Alarm - $50 fee
  • Third False Alarm - $50 fee
  • Fourth False Alarm - $100 fee
  • Five or More False Alarms - Suspension of services may occur unless customer requests continued service and agrees to pay a $100 fee for each police response.
  • Failure to pay false alarm fees may result in suspension of police service and a $25 late charge for any fee/fine that is not paid within 30 days of the invoice date.
For more information or need answers to questions, please contact the Alarm Administration Office.
1111 SW 2nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97204
Office Hours:  M-F 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Appointments Required

 
You can appeal a false alarm designation if there was a valid need for the police to response to your alarm event. 
  • Appeals must be in writing and sent to the Alarm Administration office within 10 days of your notice of false alarm.     
  • It may take up to two weeks for the Alarm Administration office to research and respond to your alarm appeal.  Responses to appeals will be in writing and sent to the alarm permit user.

 

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San Antonio

PENALTY FOR EXCESSIVE FALSE ALARMS

Section 25-66(a) of the City Code of the City of San Antonio establishes the following fees for excessive false alarms:

BURGLARY There is no service fee for the first five (5) false alarms.
A $50 fee for the 6th and successive false alarms within the 12-month permit cycle.
ROBBERY
(Includes panic and duress alarms)
There is no service fee for the first false alarm.
$100 for the 2nd and 3rd false alarms.
$150 for the 4th false alarm
$250 for the 5th and successive false alarms within the 12-month permit cycle.
FIRE There is no service fee for the first three false alarms.
$50 for the 4th false alarm.
$100 for the 5th and successive false alarms within the 12-month permit cycle.

Any outstanding false alarm service fees must be paid before an alarm permit can be renewed.
APPEALS: An alarm permit holder may appeal issues regarding false alarms to the Office of the Chief of Police and the Alarms Investigations Office.

NOTICE: The San Antonio Police Department will respond to ALL alarm calls, whether the alarm has a valid permit or not, and whether or not the fees and fines are paid. However, in the case of such violations, additional fees and fines will be assessed. If the alarm does not have a permit (through non-registration or through having been revoked), the user will be subject to a fine of between $300 and $500, for each occurrence.

The SAPD Alarms Investigations Office is located at the SAPD Main Headquarters Building, 214 W. Nueva St., San Antonio, TX. The phone number is (210)207-8282.
The MAILING ADDRESS for correspondence is:
San Antonio Police Department
Alarms Investigations Office
P.O. Box 839948
San Antonio, TX 78283-3948.

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San Francisco

HOW DO I REGISTER MY ALARM?
If you have an alarm monitoring service, they will bill you for the license. If you do not have an alarm monitoring service, you must fill out an Alarm License Application  from the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector within five (5) days after the alarm system is installed.

IS THERE A PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO REGISTER AN ALARM SYSTEM? 
Yes. Any person operating a non-licensed alarm system will be subject to a fine of $100.00, as well as a fine of $250.00 for each false alarm, including the first false alarm during the calendar year.

HOW MANY FALSE ALARMS DOES THE ORDINANCE ALLOW?
There is no penalty for the first alarm within the calendar year. The second alarm is $100, the third is $150.00, the fourth is $200.00, and five or more is $250.00 per alarm.

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Seattle

Seattle's False Alarm Ordinance Effective 1 January 2004

This ordinance effects intrusion alarms on residential and commercial property. This includes heat and smoke detectors that are a part of the alarm system. This ordinance does not effect vehicle alarms.

  • $40 per annum fee for each alarm system.*
  • $125 false alarm fee per occurrence.
  • All license fees and false alarm fees will be billed to your Alarm Monitoring Centre making the phone call into 911. These fees may be passed on to the alarm owner.
  • Owners will now use their Alarm Monitoring Centre as the primary contact for all alarm device fees, false alarm fees, warning/alarm user school or no response status.
  • One warning on a false alarm per premise. Attendance at an Alarm User School is required to obtain a warning. Request this through your Alarm Monitoring Centre.
  • If you have a false alarm and discover an actual crime, immediately call 911 and request a police response. A valid police report will be the only acceptable documentation for contesting of the validity of a false alarm charge. Notify your Alarm Monitoring Center and provide them with the Incident Number of the police report. This may be handled administratively.
  • No Response Status will apply to both residential and commercial premises. 6 false alarms in a 12-month period will result in an administrative hearing with the police department. No Response Status will apply for 1 year.

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City

Permit
Yes/No - Fee
Free false alarms
permitted
False alarm
  fines

For further information call

Chicago, IL  Yes /free 5 $50.00 / $100.00 (312) 747-1138
Denver, CO Yes $25.00 5 NO PD RESPONSE
$50. panic/holdup
(303) 640-5119
Las Vegas, NV No No response on chronic false alarms (702) 229-3243
Memphis, TN Yes $30.00 4 $25.00 (901) 576-4080
Tulsa, OK Yes $20.00 3 $50.00 - $150.00 (918) 596-7633

 

 

  
© Copyright 1997-2010

Information in this document is subject to change without notice.
Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.
UPDATE 04-Jan-2010
MMC&S Inc.


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