In Fort Worth, TX, police ignored over 38,000 burglar alarm calls between 2011 and 2013 because the owners didn’t have the required alarm system permit. Don’t let this happen to you. After you purchase your GetSafe alarm system, contact your local police department and ask if they require home alarm system permits or registration.
“But isn’t fighting crime their job?” you ask. Yes, but responding to false alarm calls isn’t “crimefighting.” In 2003, the US Department of Justice determined that up to 98% of burglar alarm calls were false. Police response to bogus calls costs US taxpayers $1.5 billion annually.
Fed up with false alarms from home and business burglar alarms, some police departments stopped responding to “unverified” alarms. Other cities are trying something different: home alarm system permits with fines for repeat offenders.
How Home Alarm System Permits Work
As in Fort Worth, many local governments use a “no permit; no response” policy. They won’t respond to an alarm if you don’t have a permit. Even with a permit, false alarms may trigger a fine – and the amount goes up with each false alarm! Make sure every person in your household understands how to operate the alarm system.
Contact your local police department as soon as you purchase your GetSafe system and ask about permit requirements.
Home Alarm System Permits: What To Expect
Here’s how a typical permit process works:
- Register your alarm system with your city police or local law enforcement department.
- Pay the annual fee (if any). Some cities have free permits; others require payment and annual renewals.
- Receive a permit number and security code to use to verify alarms.
- Agree to the terms and conditions of the permit.
Those “terms and conditions” are important. Often, the ordinances give you a few “free” false alarms per year, but then the fines kick in. You could pay $25 to $500 – or more – for a false alarm call. For instance, San Francisco doesn’t play around with false alarms. They even charge a “non-registered” alarm penalty on top of the false alarm penalty:
“If your alarm location is registered, there is no penalty for the first alarm within the calendar year. The second alarm penalty is $100, the third is $150, the fourth is $200, and five or more is $250 per instance. If your alarm location is unregistered, you are charged a $100 Non-licensed Alarm penalty and the $250 Non-licensed Alarm – False Alarm fee per false alarm instance.”
What’s worse than having to pay a fine? You might have to attend “alarm school.” That’s an even more boring version of “traffic school.”
How To Avoid False Alarms and Fines
The best way to avoid false alarm fines is to avoid false alarms. GetSafe’s home security app gives you the tools to do that.
- System notifications: System alerts notify you when the system detects an intrusion or event.
- Multiple user accounts: Each member of your family can have access to the alarm system. You define their level of privileges.
- Verify the intrusion: Use the motion detector camera to see what’s going on.
- Use the remote arm/disarm function: A maintenance worker sent by your landlord could trip the alarm just by entering. With the GetSafe app, you can disarm the system to let someone in, then re-arm it when the worker leaves.
GetSafe’s system helps minimize false alarms. Nobody needs to remember special codes or run for the control panel. You control GetSafe’s wireless system via your smart phone or keychain remote.
We make home security easy, reliable, and affordable.