A falsely triggered alarm system can be quite the hassle for homeowners and business managers, and responding to false alarms is a huge waste of time and resources for emergency responders. More importantly, a false alarm could delay response times to an actual emergency. St. Louis City Police respond to about 60,000 alarm-generated burglary notifications every year and a significant portion of these calls are false alarms.
The three leading causes of false alarms are user error, installation or servicing mistakes, and equipment failures. To help combat the expenses associated with responding to false alarms, the City of St. Louis has put in place alarm permit fees, which costs $25 for homeowners and $50 for business owners.
False Alarm Charges in St. Louis
- 1st False Alarm: Every home or business in the City of St. Louis is allowed one false alarm within a 12-month period. This is your chance to fix the issue.
- 2nd False Alarm: There will be a $25 charge for a second false alarm.
- 3rd False Alarm: A $50 charge for the third time you security system falsely triggers.
- 4th False Alarm: The fourth false alarm results in another $50 charge plus a temporary, 30-day suspension of alarm services.
- 5th, 6th & 7th False Alarms: Following your suspension, the next three false alarms will cost $100.
- 8th False Alarm: If you manage to hit eight false alarms within twelve months, the city will suspend your alarm services for an entire year.
Other Alarm Charges in the St. Louis Area (subject to change at any time):
- St. Louis County – In the unincorporated area of St. Louis County, property owners must pay a $25 fee for each false alarm.
- St. Charles County – The first false alarm in St. Charles will result in a notification of the false alarm. The second will result in a warning letter from the Chief of Police. The third false alarm and all subsequent false alarms will result in $100 fines.
- City of Wildwood – No fine on the first false alarm in Wildwood. However, there will be a $50 charge for the second and third occurrences, $75 for the fourth, $100 for the fifth, $150 for the sixth, and $200 for each subsequent false alarm.
Each jurisdiction has its own set of rules, fees, and penalties associated with false alarms. We recommend taking some time to look into the rules in your area. You can also learn more about relevant ordinances from the Alarm Association of Greater St. Louis. Ultimately, the responsibility rests on the shoulders of homeowners to prevent false alarms, so take action if you have a false alarm.
Why St. Louis and Other Cities Charge Fees for False Alarms
Fees are important because they motivate people to fix their system or solve whatever issues are causing the false alarm. Responding to a false alarm can cost thousands of dollars and delay a response to a real threat, and fees don’t usually fully offset the cost of responding to false alarms. If you experience a false alarm with your home security system, it’s up to you, the homeowner or property owner, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
What to Do if You Have a False Alarm
Most jurisdictions give out a warning after the first false alarm. If you have a false alarm, figure out what caused it. Was it user error? Was something not installed correctly? Is some piece of equipment broken? If you can’t figure out what happened on your own, bring in a security professional to help you get to the bottom of the issue and fix the problem.
Correcting and Preventing False Alarms
With the huge influx of DIY alarm systems and national retail alarm companies that hire sub-contractors to install equipment, it’s no wonder that the rate of false alarms is so high across the country. Properly training all users and hiring a reliable alarm company that knows what they’re doing are the two best ways to prevent false alarms.
If you’ve recently experienced a false alarm in the Greater St. Louis area and would like to learn more about how to correct the issue, contact our security experts, and we’ll be happy to help fix the problem and help make sure it doesn’t happen again.