Tell Me About Permits for My Alarm System
Congratulations on your decision to install an alarm system! It’s the single most effective way to protect against burglary, while also lowering the cost of your homeowner’s insurance premium.
Studies have shown homes with alarm systems are three times less likely to be burglarized when compared to homes without alarm systems.
But unless you want to get slapped with a fine, you need to familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding alarm system permits.
What Is an Alarm Permit?
“Did you know that more than 90% of alarm calls answered by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are false? Responding to false alarms creates an enormous burden in terms of manpower and expense, and reduces the time deputies have for responding to legitimate law enforcement needs.”
An alarm system permit is exactly what it sounds like: a legal document that grants a homeowner or business owner permission to activate and use an alarm system on their property.
Purchasing or even installing an alarm system isn’t prohibited, but if you intend to active it (which most people do), you’ll need a permit.
Such permits are typically granted on a local level, meaning there’s no federal or state laws governing the use of alarm permits. Instead, it’s the county or city that’s responsible for enforcing these laws.
The idea of having to obtain a permit just to use an alarm system may sound like a nuisance. However, there’s a good reason why many cities and counties require them.
If you’ve signed up for monitoring, each time an alarm is triggered, and you don’t respond, the local police must send a unit to investigate.
Assuming it was a false alarm, this takes up their time, money and resources, all of which they spend elsewhere.
By requiring residents to purchase permits, it helps to offset the otherwise burdensome cost of these false alarms.
What Causes False Alarms?
If you have ever owed an alarm, you are well aware of false alarm causes!
- Forgetting to turn the alarm off
- Insects or weather elements disrupting window sensors
- Pets, if your alarm is not set up for animals
- Children playing with alarm elements
False alarms happen for a number of reasons, so don’t risk not having a permit!
What Happens if I Don’t Have a Permit?
You might be wondering what happens to residents who fail to acquire the necessary permits for their alarm system. It’s unlikely offenders will be cuffed and hauled off to jail, but the governing body may fine them.
In Harris County, for instance, there is a fine false alarms, with the possibility the Justice of Peace Court issuing an additional citation.
Staying Compliant with Your Permits
Unless you want to run the risk of getting slapped with a fine, you should check to make sure you have the appropriate permits to use an alarm system in your respective city or county.
Most permits are valid for 12 months from the date of issuance, at which point you must get them renewed.
Learn more about alarm permits on alarm system permits for Texas residents.