WAYS TO ELIMINATE FALSE ALARMS
False alarms are a problem for everyone. In the City of Los Angeles, approximately 11% of the Los Angeles Police Department’s patrol force is wasted responding to false alarm calls. Following these steps will save vital police resources and improve the quality of police service to everyone in the City.
ALARM PERMIT INFORMATION
Provide your alarm company with your alarm permit number; (no new permit needed when changing companies).
FALSE ALARM BILLS
An alarm system user who does not have a valid permit on the date of the false alarm will be billed a penalty assessment of $100 for the first false alarm. The penalty assessment will increase by $100 increments for each additional false alarm incurred during a 365-day period.
NAME ON PERMIT VS. NAME ON SIGNS
Businesses that register the alarm permit under a legal name, should make sure the alarm company also gives the name officers should look for on any storefront or signage.
KNOW THE ALARM SYSTEM
Educate alarm users (family, employees, cleaners, etc.) on the operation of the alarm system and the importance of eliminating false alarms. Make the alarm user’s manual available.
Errors made by the alarm user (including errors made by a relative, friend, housekeeper, gardener, etc.) are not grounds for a waiver of false alarm fees.
PASSCODES AND PASSWORDS
Make sure that everyone who uses your alarm system knows the code and password.
PASSCODES VS. PASSWORDS
Be aware that the code on your alarm keypad usually IS NOT THE SAME as the password you use to verify yourself with the alarm company over the phone.
ALARM COMPANY CONTACT NUMBERS
Get your alarm company’s 24-hour monitoring center information to ensure that you can check the status of your alarm system at any time.
CANCEL THE ALARM
Rehearse alarm cancellation procedures with alarm users. When a false alarm occurs, deactivate the alarm system immediately.
CANCEL THE CALL
If your alarm company called LAPD for dispatch, turning off your alarm and/or canceling through a phone app does not cancel the call for officers. Cancel the call. Tell your alarm company to call back to LAPD to cancel the request for officers. Otherwise, the officers still have an open request.
Keep an updated contact call list with your alarm company. Give detailed instructions to your alarm company about who to call when your alarm is activated. Provide alternate contacts to make sure the alarm company can reach someone.
KNOW YOUR ALARM COMPANY NUMBERS
Many alarm companies will call you from an 800- or similar type of phone number. Do not ignore these calls as spam. Ask your alarm company for the phone numbers they will use to contact you. Store these numbers in your phone and answer these calls when you receive them.
Notify the alarm company if you will be away for an extended period of time. Provide them with your revised call list for the period that you are away.
ALARM PROCEDURES AND ARRANGEMENTS
Clarify the verification procedures on burglar alarm signals with your alarm company. Confirm in writing any special arrangements.
These include things like access codes for apartments and gates, building manager contact, dogs on premises, etc.
LOCKED GATES, HIGH FENCES, ACCESS CODES, DOGS
Make sure officers will be able to enter your location when your alarm company calls for police. The Los Angeles Police Commission, Alarm Section, will not waive alarm fees if LAPD officers are dispatched to a property or location that they cannot access due to locked gates, dog(s) in the yard, high fences, etc.
ADDITIONAL LOCATION INFORMATION
Is there information that your alarm company can give to help officers respond? Entrance on side street. Alarm is for rear house, apartment above garage. Access through stairway on North side. Property used as short-term rental (guests may be unfamiliar with property).
Check motion sensors to be certain they are free of dust, spider webs, moisture or any mobile objects that may cause false alarms.
Keep a regular maintenance schedule for the entire alarm system. Make sure sensors won’t fall. “Stick-on” sensors may fall due to tape being old, heat from the sun, or not installed securely.
SYSTEM ON TEST
Make sure the alarm system is “on test” anytime you want to test the alarm system, or an alarm company technician is working on the system. Tell the alarm company if they receive signals, they should not call for police. Find out how long they put the system on test.
Most alarm companies will put your alarm system on test for a limited time. This means they will call for police even if you did not call back to end the test. If you need more time, call back to have the time extended. Note that a busy alarm technician may forget to call for an extension of time while working on your system.
CHECK YOUR BATTERIES
Many alarm systems are wireless and have some battery-operated parts. Replace batteries as needed. When one sensor needs a new battery, consider replacing the batteries in all alarm parts that use them.
If your system has these, replace as needed.
COMMON FALSE ALARMS, MOTION SENSORS
Confine all pets to a room without a motion sensor. Do not leave helium balloons or other mobile items in a room with motion sensors. Be aware of changes in your environment and how they affect your alarm system. New pets, design changes, new house plants, heating or air conditioning usage and promotional or holiday displays can set off your alarm system.
COMMON FALSE ALARMS, PESTS
Eliminate any rodent, pest or other insect problem from your home or business. Quickly repair broken windows or holes in roofs to ensure that birds, cats, or other animals do not enter and set off your motion sensor.
When construction or repairs are scheduled on your home or business, instruct your alarm company not to dispatch the Los Angeles Police Department during these periods.
WIND AND ALARM SENSITIVITY
Latch all doors and windows securely to eliminate false alarms from wind or from someone merely jiggling the door. Trim anything that may blow in the wind and set off alarm motion, door, and screen sensors.
GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME
Have your alarm company extend the enter/exit delay times to at least 60 seconds.
Your alarm system may have several ways of sending a panic alarm.
KEYPAD DURESS ALARM
If needed, have your alarm company eliminate the “+1” duress button on your alarm system. This means the usual alarm activation/deactivation code is changed by only one number to signal a panic or duress call.
Make sure that panic buttons are not accessible to children who might push them out of curiosity.
KEYFOB, PERSONAL ALARMS
If is very easy to press these buttons. Keep these from accidental activations.
MAKE CORRECTIONS AS NEEDED
In the event of a false alarm, find out what sensor activated and what caused it to activate. Take steps to ensure that it does not happen again.
RENEW YOUR PERMIT
Permits expire on December 31st every year. If you do not receive a renewal notice by December 1, go ahead and renew online.