Alarms are an effective tool in preventing crime; however, unless alarms are used and maintained properly, they can cause time-consuming, potentially dangerous and expensive false alarms. In 2007, the Harford County Council acted to reduce false alarms by providing for the establishment of service fees for excessive false alarms. The law requires the Sheriff’s Office to carefully track false alarms to assure that the law is fairly and uniformly enforced.
False Alarms include signals that are:
- Negligent or accidental.
- Caused by malfunctioning, or improperly maintained equipment.
- Purposely activated to summon police in non-emergency situations.
False Alarms do NOT include:
- Signals activated by hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, electrical storms or violent conditions beyond the control of the alarm user or the alarm contractor.
- Signals activated during the initial 60 day period following new installation.
Help Prevent False Alarms
- Develop a routine for turning your alarm system on and off so you don’t overlook necessary steps.
- Make sure all doors, windows, and other protection points are securely closed.
- Check all lights and switches at your system’s control point. If your system can be set several ways, be sure you have selected the proper setting.
- Make sure the system is “ready” before turning it ON. (Many systems have indicator lights to tell you when they are active.)
- Make sure everyone with permission to access your alarm system is trained on how to use it. Review the proper operation with them periodically.
- Follow all instructions furnished by your alarm company for use, repairs, maintenance, etc.
- Maintain a properly charged battery backup to support a power outage of up to four hours.
- Secure pets in areas not monitored by alarm systems to avoid accidental activation.
Harford County’s False Alarm Law
The Harford County Code Chapter 62: Alarm Systems, mandates service fees shall be charged to any alarm user if the number of false alarms to which the Sheriff’s Office responds exceeds:
2 False Alarms within one calendar year
The Service Fees charged by Harford County Government will be:
- $100.00 for the 3rd False Alarm in a calendar year
- $150.00 for the 4th False Alarm in a calendar year
- $200.00 for the 5th and each additional False Alarm in a calendar year
Questions regarding the law or its enforcement should be directed to the ALARM LIAISON DEPUTY (Sheriff’s Office) at 410-836-5451.