The Westminster Police Department responded to approximately 9,575 alarms from 2006 – 2009. Of these, only 239 calls (or 2%) were true alarm calls. Studies have consistently shown that 98% of the alarms that police respond to are false. Responding to false alarms consumes valuable police resources and unnecessarily prevents, delays, or diverts police officers from responding to essential calls for service and other needs in the community.
City of Westminster Goal
The City of Westminster False Alarm program’s goals are to protect our police resources by reducing the number of false alarm responses and to educate the community on how to avoid false alarms. The following information is provided to assist you in understanding your responsibilities as an alarm user and to be aware of the fines and penalties for excessive false alarms. The City of Westminster out sources the false alarm billings and collections through a well respected nationally known company whose mailing address for their California cities is centralized through Los Angeles.
In order to reduce the number of false alarms and preserve police resources, Ordinance Nos. 2458 & 2460 were adopted. The Westminster City Council ordained that anyone responsible for the operation of or in possession of an alarm system in the City of Westminster will be required to obtain a permit for operation of such a system.
How much is the new permit?
The fee is $30 for your new permit. Business alarm permits require an annual renewal and residential permits are renewable every three years. The renewal charge is $30. This fee applies to both commercial and residential alarm permit applications.
How often do I have to renew?
Permits must be renewed every year for commercial establishments and every three years for residential alarm holders. Your renewal deadline will be the last day of the month we issued your permit.
Will the City let me know when it’s time to renew?
As a courtesy, renewal forms will be mailed to all permit holders at the mailing address on file. However, it is the responsibility of the permit holder to ensure the permit is kept up to date.
I’ve never had an alarm permit – who is required to get a permit?
Anyone with a security alarm system (monitored or unmonitored) in a home or business within the Westminster city limits must have a permit.
I have a fire alarm and a security alarm. Do I have to get two permits?
No. Only one alarm permit is required per address.
I just moved into a new home/business with an existing alarm. Is the old permit still valid?
No, permits do not transfer to new owners or new locations. As a new owner, you must re-apply for the permit and pay the fee. We also will need to update the information for that address.
What is the penalty for operating an alarm system without a permit?
- Penalty per violation:
- First violation: $100
- Second violation: $200
- Third and subsequent violations: $500
Getting Your New Permit
An application must be filled out and returned with the $30 fee to get the new alarm permit.
What’s the process for getting my new alarm permit?
You can pick up an application at the Westminster Police Department or download an application:
Alarm Permit Application
Fill out the alarm permit application and mail it with a $30 check or money order to:
City of Westminster
False Alarm Processing
PO Box 742845
Los Angeles, CA 90074-2845
Why is the payment address located in Los Angeles?
The City of Westminster outsources the false alarm billings and collections through a well respected nationally known company whose mailing address for their California cities is centralized through Los Angeles.
How much is the penalty for false alarm activations?
False alarm activations are calculated during a 365 day period.
- False Alarm - No fee, warning only.
- False Alarm - $75
- False Alarm - $100
- False Alarm - $150
- False Alarm - $200
- False Alarm - $250
- False Alarm - $300
- False Alarm - $300
Every false alarm activation causes the police department to respond which results with a documented call for service. An written notice will be placed at the location. A warning letter, an invoice for any fees associated, and a revocation of your alarm permit will occur after excessive false alarms or non payment of your fines.
What if I think I was billed incorrectly?
For questions about your billing or the procedures for disputing a bill, please contact the City's alarm billing and processing company for assistance at (877) 263-6029.
Educational Steps to Preventing False Alarms
BEFORE YOU ACTIVATE YOUR ALARM SYSTEM:
- Be sure you know how to use your system. Your alarm company should demonstrate this after installation. Make sure to ask lots of questions.
- Secure all doors and windows.
- All pets should be properly contained.
- Turn off any unnecessary electrical appliances, heaters, air conditioners, or fans.
- Make sure your monitoring station knows how to reach you or someone responsible in case of emergency, especially if you are out of town.
- Verify that your system is ready to activate. Most systems have an indicator light.
- After activating the system, leave within the specified time period.
- If you must return to the alarmed location, turn the system off immediately even if you just activated the system.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF ALARM USERS
The alarm mechanism will be adjusted to suppress false indications of force so that the alarm system will not be activated due to:
- Transient pressure change in water pipes
- Flashes of light
- Wind noise caused by rattling and vibrating windows or doors
- Vehicular noise
- Electrical power fluctuations
- Other forces unrelated to an actual emergency
The permit holder is responsible for all false activations due to faulty equipment.
The alarm system will be adjusted to allow a sound total of no longer than 10 minutes of sound after activation.
The alarm must not be manually activated for any reason other than the occurrence of the event that the system was intended to report (I.e. activating a robbery or panic alarm for any reason less than life threatening situation).
Property is properly secured to prevent birds, animals, rats, rodents, and other animals from entering the premises and activating the alarm system.
What to do if you accidentally activate the alarm:
- Immediately turn the system off.
- Use your abort code if you have one.
- If your central station verifies alarms, wait for the call. Do not attempt to call them (unless your alarm company specifically instructs you to do so).
- Know your password - the central station will need it to verify the alarm.
- Make sure anyone with access to your home or business knows the system code and password, and is instructed in operating the alarm.
- Have the telephone number of your central station or alarm company handy