False Alarm Fines in Major U.S. Cities

by | Mar 7, 2024

False Alarm Fines Across the U.S.

False alarms can quickly wallop your pocketbook. Because alarms take up valuable first responder time, local administrations are “upping the ante” for people who own faulty security systems. Governments have passed laws that not only institute false alarm fines but also escalate these fines with each subsequent offense.

As such, there is more incentive than ever to avoid triggering false alarms. And if you’re in any of these big cities with big false alarm penalties, the costs can add up quickly. So, what will false alarms cost you in major U.S. cities?

False Alarm Fines in Major U.S. Cities

What will you pay for one false alarm? What about five false alarms over a year? Or 10 false alarms? (Most cities reset your false alarm “counter” after 12 months.)

It’s worth noting that some cities issue higher fines or separate citations for unregistered alarm systems. Let’s assume you’re doing things by the books and your malfunctioning system is the only problem.

City Alarm Fine Schedule Total for 5 False Alarms in a Year Total for 10 False Alarms in a Year
Los Angeles
  • 1st: $267
  • 2nd: $317 ($267 plus a penalty that increases by $50 with each subsequent alarm)
  • 3rd: $367
  • 4th: $417
  • 5th: $467
  • 10th: $717
$1,835 $4,920
  • Each false alarm: $100
$500 $1,000
Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso
  • 1st-3rd: No fine
  • 4th-5th: $50
  • 6th-7th: $75
  • 8th or more: $100
$100 $550
  • 1st: No fine
  • Each subsequent alarm: $96
$384 $864
  • 1st-2nd: No fine
  • 3rd or more: $75
$225 $600
San Jose
  • 1st: No fine
  • 2nd: $250
  • 3rd: $350
  • 4th: $500
  • 5th or more: $750
$1,850 $6,350
  • 1st-2nd: No fine
  • 3rd: $50
  • 4th: $100
  • 5th: $150
  • 6th or more: $250
$300 $1,550
  • 1st: No fine
  • 2nd: $50
  • 3rd-4th: $100
  • 5th-6th: $200
  • 7th-8th: $300
  • 9th-10th $500
  • 11th or more: $800
$450 $2,250
  • 1st: No fine
  • 2nd: $50
  • 3rd: $75
  • 4th: $100
  • 5th: $125
  • 6th or more: $200
$350 $1,350
Charlotte, Detroit
  • 1st-2nd: No fine
  • 3rd-5th: $50
  • 6th-7th: $100
  • 8th-9th: $250
  • 10th or more: $500
$150 $1,350
San Francisco
  • 1st: No fine
  • 2nd: $100
  • 3rd: $150
  • 4th: $200
  • 5th or more: $250
$700 $1,950
  • Each false alarm: $115 charged to the provider, typically passed along to the homeowner
$575 $1,150
  • Each false alarm: $50
$250 $500
Oklahoma City
  • 1st-3rd: No fine
  • 4th or more: $82
$164 $574
  • 1st-2nd: No fine
  • 3rd: $50
  • 4th: $100
  • 5th: $200
  • 6th: $200 per day until the user remedies the cause of the false alarm
$350 $1,350 (assuming you fix the alarm the next day each time!)
  • 1st-2nd: No fine
  • 3rd-4th: $50
  • 5th or more: $100
$200 $700
  • 1st: No fine
  • Each subsequent alarm: $140, which includes a $50 fine plus the cost of services ($90)
$560 $1,260
  • 1st-2nd: No fine
  • 3rd-4th: $70
  • 5th: $105
  • 6th: $140
  • 7th: $175
  • 8th: $210
  • 9th: $280
  • 10th: $350
  • 14th or more: $700
$245 $1,400
  • 1st-3rd: No fine
  • 4th or more: $150
$300 $1,050
  • 1st: No fine
  • Each subsequent alarm: $155
$620 $1,395
  • 1st: No fine
  • 2nd-7th: $100
  • 8th or more: $200
$400 $1,200
  • 1st-2nd: No fine
  • 3rd: $75
  • 4th: $100
  • 5th: $200
  • 6th or more: $250
$375 $1,625
  • 1st: $50
  • 2nd: $100
  • 3rd: $150
  • 4th: $200
  • 5th: $250
  • 6th: $300
  • 7th or more: $400
$750 $2,650
  • 1st: No fine
  • 2nd: $50
  • 3rd: $100
  • 4th-6th: $200
  • 7th or more: $500
$550 $2,750

As you can see, false alarm fees vary widely depending on where you live, but they often increase with each offense. A faulty system that contacts emergency services automatically will be more costly than a system that does not, since you don’t have a chance to “take it back.” And if you’re a business owner, false alarm fees for your commercial property could be even higher.

What’s worse, many cities will also revoke your alarm permit or refuse to dispatch an officer if you’re a repeat offender. So when you have a genuine emergency and need a response, you’re out of luck.

The True Cost of False Alarms

A city’s false alarm fines don’t tell the full story. In addition to those fees, there are other costs inherent in false alarms.

Let’s look at the big picture. According to the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, false alarms account for up to 94% to 98% of alarm calls, costing emergency services about $1.8 billion annually. Not only that, but those false alarms are also taking resources away from areas that need them. It’s no wonder that nearly every city has ordinances in place to reduce false alarms. Some cities have even implemented non-response policies. If a security company cannot verify that an alarm is real, the police won’t dispatch officers.

What costs go into responding to any alarm, false or not?

  • Personnel, whether that’s operators and dispatchers, emergency personnel, or police
  • Wear and tear and fuel for the responding vehicles
  • Opportunity cost when time or resources are spent on false alarms instead of on legitimate calls
  • Lost productivity from “changing gears” and reacting to an alarm

Other costs are harder to quantify. Consider alarm fatigue, where people tune out some alarms because they go off so frequently. This can even make security system owners reluctant to use their systems, which can expose their property to risk. Also, a history of excessive false alarms can cause a delayed emergency response when you really need it. So, how much do you value all of your belongings that could be in jeopardy?

How to Avoid False Alarms Altogether

There are plenty of security systems available on the market, but the vast majority of available options haven’t solved the false alarm problem. So when a security solution eliminates false alarms for good, it’s time to take notice.

Deep Sentinel has taken security to a new level with AI-driven technology. These security cameras won’t be fooled by the things that often trigger false alarms, like pets, delivery trucks, or wind-blown leaves. Plus, the Deep Sentinel live security guards are on standby to gauge whether someone on your property is a threat and intervene before they contact law enforcement. If there is a genuine crime, the guards contact the police and stay on the line to provide critical information. This ensures that the police take the call seriously and have what they need to apprehend the suspect.

Instead of wasting hundreds (or thousands) of dollars per year on false alarm fines, not to mention earning a reputation as the “property owner that cried wolf,” invest in the best. Give Deep Sentinel a try.

Further Reading

Deep SentinelA
Deep SentinelA

Need a Solution that Prevents Crime?
Deep Sentinel is the only security technology that delivers the experience of a personal guard on every customer’s home and business. Visit deepsentinel.com or call 833-983-6006

Share This