The Simple Reason Communities Require Security System Permits
Are you planning to install a home security system in the near future? If so, do you know whether or not your local municipality or county requires an alarm permit? Many do. And it would appear that others without alarm permit ordinances are considering implementing them.
It is easy to assume that alarm permits are just another way to raise revenue. Increasing revenue may be a contributing factor, but there is a more important reason for requiring permits. Simply put, permitting is a tool that governments use to reduce false alarms.
The city of Reno, Nevada is a good example. Reno residents must get a permit for any alarm system that alerts law enforcement in the event of an emergency. In fact, the permit requirement exists throughout Washoe County.
The False Alarm Problem
A home security system can serve different purposes. It can be a noise maker and nothing more. It can also be a deterrent, especially when it is remotely monitored. This latter scenario is directly responsible for the false alarm problem facing so many police departments.
Remote monitoring involves a monitoring company keeping an eye on the customer’s home security system around the clock. In the event an alarm is triggered, personnel at the monitoring center alert police. A police officer is then dispatched to investigate the alarm.
Far too often, police end up being alerted to false alarms. Generally speaking, it is not the fault of the monitoring center. They have no way of knowing that the alarm is false if there is no one on the property to speak to. So in the absence of a conversation with the homeowner, they have no other recourse but notifying the authorities.
Police Don’t Appreciate False Alarms
It goes without saying that police departments do not appreciate false alarms. False alarms pull officers away from more important things. They tie up resources, waste money, and generally aggravate those who have to deal with them. Heaven forbid a false alarm prevents an officer from responding to a serious crime in progress.
In order to prevent false alarms as much as possible, cities like Reno require alarm owners to obtain permits. The permits themselves do not stop false alarms. However, fines that accompany false alarms to do. Permits are required so that police departments know who to cite when false alarms occur.
This makes permitting essentially a registration process. That is really all it is. Permits identify alarm owners in writing. Permits also supply police departments with addresses, telephone numbers, and other contact information, making it easier for them to reach out to alarm owners following a false alarm.
Unmonitored DIY Systems
Perhaps you own a DIY home security system you monitor yourself. Companies like Vivint Smart Home sell these kinds of systems all across the country. You may not need a permit even if permits are normally required for monitored systems in your area.
It really boils down to whether or not police departments are expected to respond to an alarm. If you are self-monitoring your system, you are not likely to call the police unless the alarm is legit. Thus, there would be no benefit in requiring you to get a permit.
Obviously, this is not to say that you absolutely do not need a permit for a DIY system. You would still have to contact your local government authorities to be sure. If you don’t need one, you are golden. If you do need one, get one. Otherwise you could be fined in the event you are found out. Moreover, the fine could be more than the permit fee.