Did you know that over 98 percent of alarms responded to by the Cedar Rapids Police Department are false alarms? Each false alarm takes up valuable time from the officer on the street to respond to true emergency calls (i.e. medical, criminal, car accidents with injuries, etc.) wastes fuel, increases the risk of accidents, causes wear and tear on equipment, and reduces police service to areas with greater needs. This all equates to your tax dollars not being utilized to their maximum.
Over the years, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent responding to these calls by offices, not to mention dispatch and administrative costs spent for billing and receipting.
The City's Finance Department coordinates the alarm program.
User Permits (Information effective July 1, 2007)
- Are required of every alarm user in Cedar Rapids.
- Do not apply to proprietary alarm systems (self-contained on protected premises, no outside signal).
- The user must notify Finance Department of changes to permit, i.e., change of monitoring or maintenance company, change of residence, etc.
- Fee is $25 annually, using the City’s fiscal year July 1 - June 30. This annual fee is automatically included in the July 1 billing each year and, by ordinance, is due July 25
Charges for Police Response to Alarms
- The term false alarm includes alarm systems activated by alarm trouble (mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation), carelessness, or other known causes. Examples of non-chargeable alarm calls are crimes (burglary, criminal mischief, robbery), power failure, and utility company interruption.
- Alarm users will be charged for each false alarm in accordance with the fee schedule adopted by Resolution of the City Council.
First through second false alarms: No charge
Third through fifth false alarms: $50.00
Sixth and above false alarms: $100.00
- The fee schedule is based on false alarms during each fiscal year period.
- All user permit fees and false alarm payments are due by the 25th of each month. If payments are not received within 60 days, the user will be responsible for the amount of the invoice, certified mail fee, and $45 administrative fee. If payments are not received within 90 days, the user will be responsible for the amount of the invoice, certified mail fee, $45 administrative fee and $35 penalty fee, which will then be assessed to the property
Ways to Reduce False Alarm Dispatches
- Fully educate every person whom give authority to enter your home or business on the operation of your system. This may include domestic/cleaning crews, children, neighbors, caretakers, employees, and temporary staff. Give them the proper pass code. If you change your pass code, be sure to inform users of the change.
- Regularly replace the batteries in your system as per manufacturer's specifications. Have your system checked once per year by a licensed alarm company.
- Test your system regularly by first notifying your monitoring company so that police response is not required.
- Keep door and window frames in good condition. Loose joints could cause false alarms.
- Drafts may move hanging objects (such as balloons), which may activate motion detectors.
- If you have pets, purchase an alarm system that is tolerant of pets. You may not want motion detectors if your pets have free run of the house when the alarm is on.