False alarms from burglar alarm systems are one of the most costly calls a police department can respond to. Not only is it expensive to call an officer away from what they are doing, it takes time for them to get there and discuss things with the owner or analyze the situation to find out if an intrusion has actually taken place. The most expensive part is actually taking a police officer away from other more important needs, such as those that are life threatening. Because of this many cities have implemented burglar alarm policies to protect citizens who could need the services of the police department as well as reduce the high cost of sending the police out on a false alarm.
It is the responsibility of the homeowner to know what their city policy is toward burglar alarms and false alarms. The issue of false alarms has become so serious that some cities are requiring burglar alarm companies to provide a private first responder that validates the alarm prior to the police being called out. A first responder can be a security service or guard company that is contracted by the company. Prior to doing an installation you may want to contact your city to find out what they require, they may even have a list of approved companies that can offer burglar alarms and services. You should request, and they should provide, information on who the private first responder is and where they are located. The location will give you an idea on how long it will take them to get to your home.
Most cities have a number of citations they will give you for false alarms before fining you; others will fine you on your first false alarm. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to know the law so they can limit the amount of false alarms and know what they will have to pay should they be fined.
Get to know burglar alarms, what the various types are and whether your city will allow you to do a self installation of the system. Taking the time to gain the needed knowledge will not only give you peace of mind that your family is safer, it will also limit the amount of false alarms you have. Should you receive a fine some cities may reduce or eliminate the first offense if you can show a plan so it won't happen again.