Washoe County Alarm Ordinance

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 
WASHOE COUNTY ALARM ORDINANCE

Are false alarms a problem?
Nationwide, approximately 98% of the activated alarms are false. In Washoe County, of the last 2,700 alarms where deputies responded, 7 were legitimate burglaries in progress. Each false alarm takes a minimum of 2 units off patrol.

Why did the County revise the false alarm ordinance?
Reducing false alarms allows us to be significantly more effective and efficient with resources including taxpayer dollars. Many other jurisdictions in Nevada have also adopted false alarm ordinances. 

What does the County hope to accomplish by enforcing the ordinance?
An effective alarm ordinance will help maintain the crime deterrent of using burglar alarms, reduce costs incurred by false alarm response and continue the level of deputy response that citizens expect.

Who is required to have an alarm permit?
Anyone operating a business or residential alarm system is required to obtain a permit for each alarm site having a distinct address.

How do I register my alarm system?
You will be notified by the Alarm Administrator who will mail you the permit application. Just register and pay the permit fee, it’s that easy. You will be notified to renew your alarm permit prior to its expiration. You can also access an online site to download alarm permit forms or renew online www.atbservices.com/Washoe County. New alarm systems are required to have a valid alarm permit prior to activation. It is your responsibility to have a valid permit.

What is the cost to register my alarm system?
An Alarm Permit is valid for one year and costs $24. Seniors 65 and older pay half price with the ability to decrease annually, (with proof, some restrictions apply).

Where do all the registration fees and alarm service fees go? 
A portion of the funds collected from the ordinance are dedicated entirely to cover the cost of administering the alarm program and to recover some of the cost of the Sheriff’s services lost to false alarm response.

Why permit fees and renewals?
Permit fees pay to educate alarm users, track alarm calls, bill alarm service fees, provide online services like free online alarm school and to have staff available to answer your questions by phone. Washoe County has approximately 3,000 to 4,000 alarm sites to track and 80 alarm companies and monitoring centers we must coordinate and interact with on a regular basis.

The ordinance requires Enhanced Call Verification (ECV), what’s that?
Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) simply requires that the alarm company make at least two separate calls in verifying the alarm activation prior to contacting the Sheriff’s Office. This is for burglar alarms only. Your alarm company will first call your home or business where your alarm is occurring and if they fail to contact a responsible party they will call a second number that you have provided them.

What is the service fee amount for a false alarm?

  1. Burglar False Alarm 1st - $100.00
  2. Burglar False Alarm 2nd - $125.00
  3. Burglar False Alarm 3rd - $150.00
  4. Burglar False Alarm 4th - $175.00
  5. Burglar False Alarm 5th - $200.00
  6. Each additional is also - $200.00
  7. Robbery/Panic False Alarm - $200.00

Can my alarm monitoring center cancel a burglar/intrusion alarm that they have called into the communications center?
Yes they can. You will not be charged for a false alarm if the cancellation notice is received prior to the deputy’s arrival at the alarm site. Only your alarm monitoring center can cancel an alarm burglar/intrusion call. DO NOT CALL 911 to cancel your alarm, call your alarm monitoring company.

Can my alarm permit be suspended?
Yes it can be suspended along with Sheriff's response. Suspension can occur for failure to keep a valid alarm permit or failure to pay false alarm service fees. An alarm user will be provided a thirty (30) day period to be reinstated prior to the actual suspension.

How is my alarm company involved in this matter?
They assist you with any questions you may have about your alarm system’s operation and its maintenance. To prevent having any false alarms, check with your alarm company for suggestions on how to avoid the most common alarm user errors visit www.atbservices.com/Washoe County

Why was PMAM contracted to administer the alarm program?
It would not be cost effective to create and maintain our own system of tracking and billing false alarm violations, as it requires new computer software as well as hiring and training additional staff. ATB Service is a company which exclusively administers alarm programs for cities and counties nationwide, thus spreading the infrastructure cost to make it affordable for Washoe County.

Where can I read or obtain a copy of the ordinance? 
The alarm ordinance is posted online at www.washoecounty.us/clerks/files/Ordinances/1450.pdf. The ordinance became effective May 16, 2012.

Where can I learn more about the ordinance and how to reduce false alarms?
A free online alarm school is available at www.atbservices.com/WashoeCounty. Anyone using an alarm system is encouraged to take the 15 to 20 minute online class. For additional information call 1-866-950-9907, Monday through Friday, 7 am - 5 pm.

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