What Happens if I Have an Alarm at My Home or Business?
When your registered alarm system activates, your alarm monitoring company attempts to verify the alarm and calls the emergency dispatch center requesting a police response to your home or business. If the officer finds either a crime in progress or evidence that a crime was attempted, your security alarm did just exactly what it was supposed to do. Responding to real crimes serves the interests of everyone in the community and is a part of the basic police services your taxes provide.
What Happens if I Have a False Alarm?
If an officer is dispatched to your home or business and finds no evidence of a crime or attempted crime, you will be charged a false alarm response fee. Only false alarms caused by earthquakes, tornados and other unusually violent acts of nature are exempt from fees. Each time you have a false alarm, you are responsible for paying for the cost of the service provided by the Police Department. There are no free false alarm responses. False alarm fees are based on the actual cost of providing the response. Emergency responses to false robbery and panic alarms are significantly more expensive than responses to false burglary or property alarms because emergency responses involve the use of more police resources than non-emergency burglary responses. There is an appeal process if you feel you have been charged with a false alarm in error.
False Alarm (Per Event)
- Burglary/Property $60
- Robbery/Panic $200
Why Do I Have to Pay for a False Alarm?
Responding to false alarms serves only those who choose to own and can afford to own and operate security alarm systems. Those who don't have or can't afford alarm systems not only derive no benefit from the police going to a false alarm, they actually lose access to public safety resources they would have had available if the police had not been diverted to the false alarm. Because it serves only the interests of a special group of citizens (alarm owners) rather than the whole community, false alarm response is not a basic police service provided by taxes. It is a special privilege the City has agreed to provide to responsible alarm owners, provided those alarm owners who use the service pay for it and don't abuse the privilege.
What Happens if I Don't Pay My False Alarm Fees?
If you have any unpaid false alarm fees at the time you are required to re-register your alarm, your alarm registration will be suspended and you will not be permitted to re-register until your bill is paid in full. This means that you will not have unverified police response to your alarm until you have brought your account current.
Can I Have Too Many False Alarms?
Any false alarm is one too many, but, even for conscientious users, they sometimes do occur. However, virtually all false alarms are avoidable, and you are expected to keep your alarm system well maintained and operate it with care and diligence. You are permitted to have three (3) false alarm responses in any calendar year. If you have a fourth false alarm in a calendar year, your alarm registration will be suspended for 90 days or until the end of the calendar year, whichever is longer. If you are suspended three (3) times in any five-year period, your registration will be permanently revoked and you will need to make other arrangements if you wish to have unverified response to your alarm system.
False Alarm Prevention Class
You are able to be "forgiven" for one suspension of your alarm registration, if you take and pass a false alarm prevention class. The class is self-taught and available on-line. Expect to spend 20-30 minutes taking the class and the exam. When you have successfully completed the exam, you will be prompted to submit the results. The suspension of your alarm registration will be lifted when the results are submitted, but remember - taking and passing the class forgives the suspension only. You still have to pay all false alarm fees for which you are billed. To take the course visit the City of Olympia False Alarm Prevention Class website. If you do not wish to take the course on-line, paper copies of the course and the exam are available.