Alarm Permits

As more and more consumers choose to protect their homes and businesses with alarm systems, the number of false alarms continues to grow each year. The purpose of the alarm ordinance is to implement a reliable permit tracking system and to reduce or eliminate false alarms, and works with the community to encourage alarm users to maintain the operational reliability and proper use of their alarm systems.

The Real Costs of False Alarms

False alarms cost all of us both time and money, and account for a staggering number of wasted police response hours every year. Our department responds to over 3,000 false alarms a year, at a cost of over $100,000 in taxpayer dollars. False alarms unduly divert law enforcement from responding to criminal activity and other useful duties. As a system owner, you have some responsibilities – maintaining a secure premise as well as a properly functioning alarm system.

Commercial vs. Residential

There is one distinction between a commercial and residential permit – commercial entities must pay a $75 permit fee and renew every year. Residential permits are free, and they do not expire. However, both can be placed on non-response status due to non-payment of fines, permit fees or excessive false alarms.

Alarm Ordinance Overview

The ordinance establishes mandatory user permits and fines and other sanctions for excessive numbers of false alarms. Here’s how it works.
  1. All alarm users must obtain an alarm use permit from the police department. Fill it out in its entirety and return it within 10 days to our department.
  2. Businesses must include a $75** permit fee. Business permits must be renewed yearly.
  3. There is no fee for residents to obtain the permit, and they do not expire unless there is a change in home ownership.
  4. Upon receipt of completed application and fee(if applicable), the WCPD shall issue a permit for the designated premise.
  5. The police department will inform you by letter if your premise has had false alarms. If the premise has three (3) or more false alarms, fees are attached to the responses starting at $100 (see chart below). The premises who do not desire police response to alarms, do not obtain a permit or, do not pay fines associated with false alarm dispatches are placed on a non response status that refers to alarm activations only. All other types of calls for police response will continue.
  6. An alarm user may appeal assessment of a fine by filing a written request for hearing to the Alarm Review Board within ten (10) days after receipt of fine. The decision of the Board is final.

How to Reduce False Alarms

  1. Be sure to have a good quality alarm system that has been installed by a licensed alarm company.
  2. Continually train all of your employees on the alarm system to ensure they will be familiar with the code and how the system works.
  3. Have your alarm system tested on a regular basis.
  4. Have your alarm company provide you with a cancellation code and make sure all authorized users know it.

How can I get a permit?

The Walnut Creek Police Department will provide you with a pamphlet describing the city ordinance for false alarms, the alarm permit application and schedule of fees. You may also fill out the form online and either e-mail it, or print and mail it in. Both application types are available below. Contact the Alarm Coordinator at (925)256-3526, or by e-mail to: for any additional information.

If your system continues to cause problems, it can get expensive!

Sec. 3-9.08. Administrative Fines. (a) An alarm user and/or permit holder shall be subject to warnings, fines and suspensions or revocation of permit depending on the number of false alarm dispatches emitted from an alarm system within a 12-month period based upon the following schedule

# of False Alarm Dispatches Actions Taken Fines
1 Written Notice and warning None
2 Written Notice and warning None
3 Written Notice and Hearing Letter $100**
4 Written Notice and Hearing Letter $110**
5 Written Notice and warning $150**
6 and more Written Notice and Hearing Letter; possible suspension or revocation of alarm permit $175**

**Permit fee and false alarm fines as of July 1st, 2010
False Alarm Ordinance WCMC 3-9.00 et.seq.