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Police False Alarms

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Overview

The St. Petersburg Police Department responds to over 11,000 false alarms each year. When an alarm call is received, two law enforcement units are dispatched. Most importantly responding to false alarms places the safety of citizens truly in need of law enforcement response in jeopardy and also consumes thousands of personnel hours at a high cost to taxpayers. Unfounded alarm calls reduce the effectiveness of the St. Petersburg Police Department and undermine our ability to respond to more critical calls. The City implemented the False Alarm Program in 1995 as a result of the increasing number of security alarm installations occurring at commercial and residential properties, as well as the subsequent increasing number of false security alarm activations. From inception, the goal of the program was to encourage individuals utilizing security alarm systems to properly maintain the operational effectiveness of those systems in order to minimize the occurrences of false security alarms, and provide pertinent contact information to the Police Department when responding to the calls.

City Code, Chapter 20, provides for the regulation of security alarm permits and associated violations. Prior to Council approval in 1994, the Police Department recorded 18,231 responses to false security alarms. With the City’s current enforcement effort, the number of false alarm calls totaled 9,767 in 2013, representing a 46.4% decrease over that time period.

If you have been issued a false alarm notification and have discovered actual evidence of criminal activity, contact the police department using the non-emergency number, (727) 893-7780, and request an officer to document the damage in a report.

Please do not contact the police department or the False Alarms Division to cancel your alarm activation; you MUST contact your alarm monitoring company.


Important Information

  • Applications for a security alarm permit are available from, and may be filed with, the POD (currently, the False Alarms Division) and shall be on forms provided by the POD. Upon approval of the application, the POD shall issue a security alarm permit which shall be valid for the calendar year in which the application is submitted.
  • Every person who installs, owns, leases, possesses or operates any security alarm system within the City may obtain a security alarm permit prior to activation of the security alarm system. False alarm or alarm malfunction fines are assessed based on the number of false alarm occurrences with or without a security alarm permit prior to activation of the security alarm system as set forth in the following schedule:

 

False Security Alarm or Alarm Malfunction Fine   Schedule

No. of False Alarm Occurrences

Fine with Permit

Fine without Permit

First occurrence

$0.00

$0.00

Second occurrence

$0.00

$200.00

Third occurrence

$50.00

$400.00

Fourth occurrence

$100.00

$500.00

Fifth occurrence

$200.00

$500.00

Sixth and seventh occurrence

$300.00

$500.00

Eighth and ninth occurrence

$400.00

$500.00

Tenth and above occurrence

$500.00

$500.00

 

  • A false security alarm means a security alarm malfunction or the activation of any alarm, not caused by forced entry, attempted forced entry, or robbery which results in an official response of the Police Department. A presumption exists that the alarm was false if the Police Officer responding to the alarm finds no evidence of criminal activity, attempted criminal activity or an emergency at the premises.
  • Please contact our False Alarms Division with any questions at (727) 892-5969.

False Alarm Prevention Tips

Please help the City reach its goal to reduce the number of false alarm occurrences for the safety of our police officers and to limit the fines assessed to the responsible party by reviewing our false alarm prevention tips below:

  • Make sure anyone who has a key to your premises is fully trained to use the system including arming/disarming the system and cancellation procedures.
  • Communicate any changes in contact phone numbers to your alarm company and the City.
  • Before arming your alarm system, be sure doors and windows are CLOSED and security LOCKED.
  • If you need to re-enter the premises right after the alarm has been armed, disarm the system immediately upon re-entry. Do not try to “beat the clock” by getting in and out before the alarm goes off.
  • Make sure your system is programmed to give you enough time to leave your premises after arming your system before the alarm activates.
  • Restrict your pets to areas without motion detectors. Even with “pet alleys” they can jump or climb into the view of the sensors.
  • Check your system’s batteries and your back up battery.
  • Be aware motion detectors can be activated by drafts from fans or air conditioners which can cause movement of decorations or curtains.
  • If you system is easily triggered by thunderstorms please contact your security alarm company for inspection and possible repair. 

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