False alarm means a signal from an alarm system resulting in a response by the Police Department when an emergency situation did not exist. However, for various reasons, false alarms for alarm systems frequently do occur.
Prevention and/or elimination of false alarms is important because each false alarm requires response by public safety personnel, involves unnecessary expense to the city, increases the risk of injury to persons or damage to property, and dilutes the overall public safety protection to the city.
Residential Burglar Alarm System
A residential burglar alarm system should be simple to operate and designed to fit in with the lifestyle of the family it is protecting. Otherwise, the alarm system will cause false alarms and the family will soon stop using it.
Commercial Burglar Alarm Systems
Burglary protection for commercial risks should consist of a combination of physical security and burglar alarm protection. The physical security is to keep the burglar out; the burglar alarm protection is to detect the intrusion in the event the physical system fails
Common Causes of False Alarms
For various reasons, false alarms for alarm systems frequently occur. Storms and bad weather should not activate your alarm. However, there are a number of things that can be identified as "Common Causes of False Alarms". Here are some of the most common:
- System Users
- Physical Changes to Facility
- Displays and Decorations
- Malfunctioning Equipment
- Heat Vents
- Air Conditioning Vents
- Fans (Ceiling and Table)
- Small Animals
Tips to Eliminate / Prevent False Alarms
- check that all exterior doors are closed and locked.
- check that all motion sensor areas are clear of moving signs, displays, reflective/helium balloons, etc.
Personnel Make Sure
- all users have proper knowledge of codes
- all users know how to cancel a false alarm quickly.
- Train ALL personnel periodically in proper alarm operating procedures and false alarm prevention.
- Report any arming or disarming problems to your alarm company immediately.
- If the system was installed for one type of facility and remodeling occurs, the alarm should be inspected for suitability to the changes that have been made.
- Carefully arrange all decorations, banners and displays. Floating balloons can interfere with motion detectors and activate alarms.
- Replace main battery to meet manufacturer specifications.
- If you can’t identify the cause of the activation, contact your alarm company to have your motion detectors checked along with basic equipment.
- Heat rises and can cause enough motion to activate alarms, as can air conditioning currents.
- Motion detectors easily detect small animals (birds, cats, rodents, etc.). Use caution against their entering the premises.
- Schedule routine system maintenance and checks by the alarm company.
False Alarm Penalties
Because each false alarm requires response by public safety personnel, involves unnecessary expense to the city, increases the risk of injury to persons or damage to property, and dilutes the overall public safety protection to the city, such false alarms are deemed to constitute a public nuisance and must be abated.
Therefore, in accordance with Ordinance 7.08.005, persons connected to an alarm system shall: Pay to the city a charge for false alarms responded to by the police according to the following schedule for each calendar year, for each premise connected.
Alarmed areas must be protected from access. Security systems must not be the only barrier - all alarmed doors should have secure locks, also!
For more information regarding False Alarm Fees, please contact the Wauwatosa Police Department Records Bureau at (414) 471-8430, Monday through Friday, from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Alarm System Registration
False Alarm Fees Per Calendar Year
| Annual Registration
| False Alarm 1st
| False Alarms 2nd - 3rd
| False Alarms 4th - 7th
| False Alarms 8th +
Beginning in 2012, registration of your alarm system is required by ordinance. To learn more about Alarm System Registration, click here.