False Alarm Enforcement
The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) Alarm Enforcement Office addresses all County false-alarm issues, including any alarm signal that elicits an ACPD response when no evidence exists of criminal activity to justify a police response (excluding cancelled police responses by the alarm user prior to police arrival). Factors like human error or equipment malfunction may cause a false alarm.
The False Alarm Unit:
- Administers and enforces the County’s alarm ordinance(PDF, 123KB)
- Reduces the number of police responses to false alarms
- Registers alarm systems, sends false alarm notifications and bills for excessive false alarms
- Ensures that the appropriate alarm system inspections and upgrades occur
Alarm User Registration
- Every security alarm system must be registered with the ACPD, excluding fire or car alarm systems.
- Your alarm/monitoring company or the False Alarm Enforcement Office can provide you with alarm registration information at the time of sale or installation.
- If you don’t have an alarm/monitoring company, you may obtain registration information directly from the False Alarm Enforcement Office.
- All residential, nonresidential and commercial alarm users shall pay an annual registration fee fee of $25.00, payable by check or mail order to Arlington County Treasurer's office.
- Each tenant using an alarm system in a multitenant residential or commercial building must register separately.
- The owner or property manager of an apartment complex that provides alarm systems as an amenity must obtain a separate registration for each individual unit. The fee is $25.00 per unit.
- Alarm registrations can’t transfer from one alarm user to another or from one location to another. However, if you change alarm companies, your mailing address or your contact person information, you don’t have to re-register your alarm system, but you must advise the False Alarm Enforcement Office in writing of these changes.
- You and/or your alarm company must notify the False Alarm Enforcement Office when there is a relocation or change in ownership. The old registration must be cancelled and a new one issued.
What Your Alarm Company Should Do for You
To reduce false alarms, the law requires your alarm company to take certain proactive measures:
- Before dispatching the police, your alarm/monitoring company must attempt to verify every alarm signal except for hold-up alarms.
- If an alarm signal is false, your alarm/monitoring company must immediately attempt to cancel the police dispatch. You can’t personally cancel a police dispatch unless you initiated the call.
- Your alarm company must not request police dispatch to an alarm activation until the alarm system has the proper registration.
- When you have a new alarm system installed in your home or business, your alarm company should provide you with a completed and signed installation certificate. This certificate affirms that:
- The system meets or exceeds installation standards
- All persons responsible for the system’s operation have been fully trained on its proper use
- The alarm business has explained the requirements for registration and has provided the alarm user with a copy of the registration form
How the Law Works
Every alarm user gets two “free” false alarms per 12-month period, which starts with the registration date or first false alarm. If a third false alarm occurs during this calculated period:
- The alarm user may be required to have the alarm system inspected at their expense, providing inspection proof to the ACPD within 30 days of the request
- False alarm response fees may be imposed
On the eighth false alarm, the alarm user must have the alarm upgraded to meet current Arlington County installation standards. You will be considered in violation of the alarm ordinance(PDF, 123KB) if you fail to:
- Register your alarm system
- Pay the assessed false alarm fees
- Inspect or upgrade the alarm system, as required
False Alarm Response Payments
Payments can be made by cash, check, money order, and credit or debit cards.
Credit or debit card payments must be made in person, at the Police Department’s Records Management Section Customer Service Counter during normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm, excluding County holidays). Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards are accepted.
Note: These fees apply only if dispatched police arrive on-site to a location with a false alarm activation.