Alarm systems. So many people across the Valley have them, but did you know they could cost you more than that monthly fee if you're missing a certain step?
Many people don't know they have to register their systems — it's all in an effort to cut down on false alarms. Too many false alarms and you'll have to pay up.
It's a familiar sound: You hear the "beep beep" coming from your home alarm system and you jet to your keypad or click that remote to deactivate it. If you're not fast enough or trip the alarm another way, you may get a phone call from your security company or in some cases, law enforcement may come out right away even if there's nothing going on.
"The false alarm problem in Pinal County is pretty serious," PCSO Lt. Hunter Rankin said.
But it's not just Pinal County. It's Valley-wide and false alarms are costing billions of dollars in wasted resources.
"Just in the last 12 months alone, we've taken close to 3,000 alarm calls. Of those 3,000 calls, 99 percent were false," Rankin said.
That means only one percent of all alarm calls was for true emergencies.
Pinal County enacted an ordinance in January 2003 requiring residents to register their systems. According to Lt. Rankin, it has cut overall calls drastically by almost two-thirds.
But that doesn't mean it's totally eradicated the issue, says Lt. Rankin. In Pinal County, homeowners are granted three false alarms per calendar year. After that, the fines start ringing up.
ABC15 did some digging and found out other places throughout the Valley have similar rules on the books.
In the City of Phoenix, resident are granted one false alarm per year. After that, fines hover around $100 for each call. You can also be fined if your system isn't registered.
In Peoria, residents pay $10 to register their systems and get up to three free false alarm calls per year. After that, fees can go as high as $150 for more than nine false alarms in a given year.
In Tempe, residents must register their alarm systems and are given two false alarms per year. After that, the city can administer fees.
In Scottsdale, residents pay a $10 registration fee and get two free false alarms per year. After more than six false alarms in a given year, residents could face a fine of $200.
In Glendale, residents must register their systems and could face fines after the second false alarm.
Tips to reduce false alarms:
- Make sure everyone who has a key to your house knows how to operate the alarm system
- Know how to cancel a call if your trip the alarm
- Deactivate the motion sensor (pets, wind, doors and other harmless things may trigger the system)
Check/inspect your system at least once a year to make sure it’s working properly.