Texas Considers Setting Criteria for Cities’ Alarm Response, Placing Limits on Permit Fees


The Texas House of Representatives will consider a bill
that would put guidelines on alarm response policies for
cities in the state and also set a limit for how much a
city could charge for an alarm permit. Under the bill, to
be considered by the House on May 5, a Texas city would be
required by law to respond to a burglar alarm no matter how
many false alarms have been committed as long as the false
alarm fines have been paid in full.

However, the ordinance would also allow cities to revoke an
alarm owner’s permit and thus end police response if they
have had eight or more false alarms within a year. An
exception is also made to allow cities not to respond to
alarms as long as no fee or fines are imposed for false
alarms, “reasonable efforts” are made to notify permit
holders of the intention to adopt no-response and the
public is heard through public hearings.

The new bill, if passed, would also authorize Texas
municipalities to require alarm companies to attempt to
contact the occupant of the alarm system location twice
before officers respond.

An identical bill has been filed in the Texas State Senate
and is currently in committee.

The proposed law would also set a limit of $50 for a
residential alarm permit and a $100 limit for a commercial

Among other provisions in the bill:

  • A city would be able to impose a monetary penalty for
    excessive false alarms after a third false alarm within a
    calendar year.

  • The amount of a false alarm fine will not be able to
    exceed $50 for four to five false alarms within a year; $75
    for five to seven false alarms in a year; and $100 for
    eight or more within a year.

  • Alarm companies would be obligated to distribute to new
    alarm customers information on how to prevent false alarms
    and operate the alarm system, as well as state the city’s
    alarm ordinances.

  • All alarm system control panels installed in the state
    after Jan. 1, 2007 must comply with American National
    Standards Institute’s (ANSI) standards for false alarm

If passed by both legislatures, the new state ordinance
would go into effect on Sept. 1.



The Texas
House of Representatives passed the bill on May 5. For more
on this story, click

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