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False Alarm FAQ

What is a false alarm?

A false alarm means that police units were dispatched to a location with an active monitored alarm device to determine whether there is evidence of a crime or other activity on the premises that would warrant a call for immediate police assistance or investigation and when the police unit arrives there is no evidence of criminal activity on the premises. An alarm shall be presumed to be false if responding City personnel do not locate evidence of intrusion, commission of an unlawful act, or emergency on the premises that might have caused the alarm to sound.


How is the false alarm fee invoiced? 

False alarms are billed $100 per occurrence to the alarm company.


Is my first false alarm occurrence free?


Is there a discounted fee for senior of disabled Citizens?


Can an alarm company pass along the false alarm fee to the customer?
Yes the alarm companies may choose to pass along the false alarm fee to their subscribers.


Why doesn’t the City charge the fee directly to the customer? 
National and local statistics have proven that raising fines paid directly by homeowners and businesses have had no significant impact on reducing the number of false alarms. Alarm-monitoring companies have enjoyed the benefit of police response to their customers' alarms without any accountability for the accuracy or reliability of those alarms.


Tacoma’s intent with this law is to hold alarm-monitoring companies accountable for false alarms, education to their customers to reduce false alarms and to reduce the number of unnecessary police and fire responses. 


How do I dispute a false alarm fee?
If you feel that a false alarm fee has been assessed incorrectly please contact your alarm company.  Alarm companies are required to dispute false alarms on their customers behalf.  The company must provide a reason for the dispute along with evidence that there was an actual burglary or burglary attempt to the City requesting that the fee be waived.


How can I obtain more information regarding the false alarm incident?
You can fill out a public records request at the South Sound 911 website at http://www.lesa.net/157/Public-Records-Requests or go to the South Sound 911 public counter located at 945 Tacoma Ave. S, Tacoma WA 98402.


Alarm Permit Information

Do Tacoma residences or businesses need an alarm permit or license?
No.  Alarm companies are responsible for paying a $40 annual device fee for each of their subscribers alarm systems.


What if I switch alarm companies?
The City of Tacoma allows subscribers to switch alarm companies without charging the new monitoring company a device fee if the device fee was paid within the calendar year by the previous alarm company. 


Can the alarm companies pass along the fee to their customer?
Yes the alarm company may choose to pass along the alarm device fee to their subscribers.