Changes in residential and commercial alarm permits in Menlo Park become effective July 1

by Contributed Content on July 1, 2018

In 2004, the Menlo Park City Council authorized the Police Department to require all alarmed premises, residential and commercial, to register for an alarm system permit. The alarm permit requires users to provide the Police Department with the names and phone numbers of three persons who can respond to the premise if the need arises. The alarm ordinance encourages accountability and responsibility by charging alarm owners for false alarms.

On average, police officers respond to 1,500 alarm calls per year. Of those responses, less than five are actual emergencies. Studies have consistently shown that 99 percent of the alarms triggered are false alarms. False alarms are typically caused by user error, such as opening and closing errors, or equipment malfunctions.

Each alarm response requires a minimum of two patrol officers and averages 20 minutes per officer, per alarm. False alarms negatively affect the overall safety of the community by diverting officers from actual emergencies and other legitimate calls for service.

Effective July 1, 2018, all alarmed premises are required to have an annual alarm permit, which will be billed $25 at the beginning of each fiscal year. In addition, false alarm response fees are billed by the fiscal year. The first false alarm response is free and the subsequent false alarm responses start at $85 and increase incrementally by $5 each additional false alarm response in a fiscal year period.

Payments that are 30 days late or more will incur late fees. For more information on alarms, visit

Originally appeared in Menlo Park Updates; used with permission

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