Why do some towns make you get an alarm permit ?

Corpus Christi alarm Permit download link

Different cities and towns have different views of security systems. Here are some reasons behind alarm permits.

Back in the day, alarms were not as common as they are today. Around 2003 the alarm industry took off due to a reduction in equipment cost. That meant better deals and more installations and more customers. Unfortunately not every customer gets a good installer who teaches them the importance of knowing their system, staying informed, and keeping in touch. Police departments in the bigger cities saw an increase of false alarms and things were getting a little out of hand.

Before alarms became mainstream, many law enforcement agencies treated false alarms with more tolerance than they do today. They would usually shrug it off and go to the next call. Not anymore. Now millions of homes have alarm systems and thousands go off every day. It would be safe to say that around 90% of them are false. Some cities just don’t have the manpower and enough officers on shift to just keep responding to every alarm call. They do have an obligation to roll on the call but most departments do not look at alarm calls as high priority.

As the number of false alarms increased, many cities had meetings on what could be done about the problem. Sure false alarms are going to happen, but some don’t ‘have ‘ to happen. I don’t have hard statistics but I can safely tell you that more than 50% of false alarms are caused by user negligence, operator error, whatever you want to call it.

I did some research on the internet and ran across some figures according to the Portland, Oregon Police Bureau . So to their credit I will post some things to consider.

The three major causes of false alarms are (1) user errors (2) installation or service errors and (3) equipment failures.
more than 80% of false alarms are related to preventable user errors while
20% of alarm users cause 80% of all false alarms.

Cities of all sizes began to get fed up with all the false alarms. Something had to be done and engage some conviction on this growing problem. And that they did.

Alarm companies can only do so much to educate their customers on how to operate their alarm. We always say, “get to know your system, stay informed, stay in touch”. We need to do what we can to give our law enforcement and fire fighters the upper hand when responding to alarm calls. To put it in “cop talk” terms, running code 4 on an alarm call is always a waste of man power when the alarm is false. With few exceptions, there is no need in tying up officers running after false alarms that could have been prevented. Home owners really needed to get a grasp on their alarm systems.

So what to do ?

Cities started implementing mandatory alarm permits. Some required a fee anywhere from $10 – $100 and all in between. Some cities (although very few) do require a permit but not a fee. And to this day, there are many cities that still do NOT require a permit or a fee.

Many will argue this just give municipalities another way to raise revenue. OK, and the problem is? To their credit, permits also get alarm users to start taking more responsibility with their alarm system. Just to be clear, it’s not always the users fault though. A shoddy installation can be the blame just as well or in some rare cases equipment malfunctions. I’m pretty sure every police department out there knows where all the habitual false alarm calls originate from. Modern day alarm equipment is becoming more and more user friendly and also sophisticated enough to where it is more reliable than ever.

Cities that require an alarm permit, regardless if there is a fee or not, do have sanctions if false alarms continue to get out of control . Some cities allow 3 false alarm graces before they instigate a fine or citation. Some municipalities allow you 5 graces. You will have to check with your local city hall to find out what your city charges for an alarm permit. You may pleasantly learn your city doesn’t currently require an alarm permit. Of course that could change at anytime.

The rules and consequences of having false alarms vary from city to city. I do have some additional information on this topic for you if you check out our alarms 101 FAQ page. There is a section on there about False alarms.

Just remember, it is not the alarm company’s place to get you rpermit. It is up to you as the homeowner to be aware of any permits (if any are required) in place for your account. I’ve actually had people Google that question so I thought I’d address it here.

That’s about all I will say on the subject for now, there are many other factors why permits are in place. If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line and I will try to answer them. If you are in the Corpus Christi texas area, Click HERE to download your alarm permit direct from the city’s website.

This BLOG is written by Jimmy Maddox, employed by America’s Ultimate Security. The opinions and advise are strictly his and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the company, AUS Inc., ADT Security or any other company that may have been implied.

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