False Alarms

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What You Should Know

Did you know false security alarms costs local governments millions of dollars and thousands of wasted man hours? Read further to learn how to prevent future occurrences.

Alarms were originally designed to protect lives and property. Properly installed, used, and maintained, alarms are a real asset. When misused, they become a liability. Each year false alarms cost all of us millions of dollars and thousands of wasted man hours. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department - Lost Hills Division, as well as the security companies, must spend a significant amount of time and money reacting to false alarms. You as the system user also experience the inconvenience of false alarms and the assessment of fines. False alarms must concern each of us. They do not reduce crime and can cause a certain level of complacency among all concerned parties. They also increase the liability and endanger the safety and welfare of the public, responsible parties, and responding agencies. The purpose of this brochure is to help all of us understand what causes a majority of the false alarms at a time when the false alarms continue to increase, and to provide a way to reduce false alarm activity.

What is a false alarm?

A False Alarm is any alarm caused by human error or equipment problems requiring police response, with no evidence of an actual crime having been committed.

What are the most frequent human errors that cause a false alarm?

Residential

  • Use of incorrect key pad codes
  • Failure to train other authorized users (i.e., sitters, relatives, children, visitors, etc.)
  • Failure to secure doors and windows before activating alarm

Commercial

  • Use of incorrect key pad codes
  • Failure to train other authorized users (i.e., employees, janitors, delivery personnel, etc.)
  • Failure to notify monitoring facility of unscheduled openings or closings (for businesses using set schedules)
  • Failure to update authorized personnel list with monitoring facility
  • Failure to secure doors and windows before activating alarm

What are the most frequent equipment problems which cause false alarms?

  • Make sure everyone is familiar with alarm system operations
  • Secure doors and windows before activating system
  • Beware of changes in the environment (i.e., new animals, design changes, seasonal decorations, plants, etc.)
  • Notify monitoring facility of any and all changes (i.e., house guests, name changes, new employees, termination of employees, etc.)
  • Equipment should be routinely inspected, and maintained by qualified personnel

In Conclusion

The City of Agoura Hills and the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department developed this brochure to promote public awareness regarding False Alarms. It is our sincere desire to work with the public to reduce false alarms to an acceptable level. This reduction in false alarms allows your law enforcement and security people to more effectively serve and protect you. Your comments and cooperation are essential to the success of this program and we welcome your involvement. Working together, we will continue to have a safe and secure place to live. The City Council passed Ordinance No. 68 on November 7, 1984, which states, "No alarm owner shall operate an alarm system which generates more than three (3) false alarms in any twelve-month period." To discourage repeat false alarms, the City of Agoura Hills will enforce Ordinance No.105, requiring $100.00 be assessed for the fourth violation, $200.00 for the fifth and $500.00 for each additional false alarm within a twelve month period. Violations will be prosecuted in the same manner as any other infraction. The Sheriff’s Department will issue a citation to the owner of the device, who will then be required to pay the fine and the State mandatory court penalty assessment.

For the current court penalty assessment amount contact Van Nuys Courthouse at (818) 374-3060.

If you have any questions, please call Pat Wiley, City Manager’s Office at (818) 597-7304.

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