False Alarm Fines in Major U.S. Cities
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 the course of 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 that 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|
|Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso||
||$350||$1,350 (assuming you fix the alarm the next day each time!)|
As you can see, false alarm fees can vary widely depending on where you live, but they tend to 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 you 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 taking resources away from areas that actually need them. It’s no wonder that nearly every city has ordinances in place to reduce the number of false alarms. Some cities have even implemented alarm verification policies. If a security company cannot verify that an alarm is real, the police won’t respond.
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
There are other costs that 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. The security cameras won’t be fooled by the things that often trigger false alarms by other security systems, 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.