L.A. Council Unanimously Approves New Alarm Ordinance


The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously approved a new
alarm ordinance that makes permanent a limited form of
verified response and authorizes a $115 fine for a first-
time false alarm offense. The passage of the new ordinance,
expected to be approved by Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn,
appears to be the end of the nearly three-year-long debate
on false burglar alarms that nearly resulted in a total
verified response policy for the second largest city in the

With little debate, the council approved Sept. 21 the new
policy. The process leading to the ordinance revision
started in April 2002
when the city’s police commission first tried to enact a
total verified response policy similar to those instituted
by Salt Lake City and, as of Sept. 18, HREF=t_ci_newsView.cfm?nid=1877>by Milwaukee. Los
Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn, sister to the mayor and a
verified response opponent, told Security Sales &
that the long debate in Los Angeles is

“There’s going to be a review, but this is the ordinance
that will stand for a long time,” Hahn says. “Most
importantly, there is a commitment that officers are going
to respond and there will be accountability for the alarm

The new ordinance makes permanent a temporary Los Angeles
Police Department (LAPD) policy
that went into effect
Jan. 1
where police will
not respond to a burglar alarm at an alarm customer with
more than two false alarms in a year unless it is verified
at the source. It also sets up a “no free false alarm” fine
structure where a customer already with an alarm permit
will be fined $150 for a first false alarm within a
calendar year with an additional $50 being added for each
false alarm that follows.

The fines are more stringent for those who haven’t
purchased the $30 alarm permit, with a $215 fee being
assessed for the first false alarm and an additional $100
added on to the fee for each false alarm after that.

The false alarm fee portion of the new ordinance won’t go
into effect until Jan. 1 2005. As part of the ordinance,
the LAPD will review the fees on an annual basis and those
fines will go into a “Burglar Alarm System Penalty Trust
Fund” to aid police instead of into general city

Hahn says she won two concessions added to the ordinance
that were requested by the alarm industry. There will be
an “amnesty” for alarm users who either renew or purchase
an alarm permit where the false alarm fines will be waived.
Also, Hahn says that instead of the false alarm violation
being assessed as a criminal misdemeanor – previously
included in the ordinance proposal – an alarm customer who
is assessed the penalty for a false alarm will receive a
notice of infraction similar to a parking ticket.

“I had a problem with that,” Hahn says of the misdemeanor
charge. “You were going after the homeowners instead of the

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