Every alarm site (residential and business) in San Francisco is required to have an alarm license. San Francisco Police Emergency Alarm Ordinance defines a false alarm as an alarm dispatch request to a law enforcement agency, when the responding law enforcement officer finds no evidence of a criminal offense or attempted criminal offense after having completed a timely investigation of the alarm site.
If your alarm location is registered, there is no penalty for the first false alarm within the calendar year. The second false alarm penalty is $100, the third is $150, the fourth is $200, and five or more is $250 per instance. If your alarm location is unregistered, you are charged a $100 Non-licensed Alarm penalty and the $250 Non-licensed Alarm – False Alarm fee per false alarm instance.
If you have an alarm monitoring service, they will register the alarm license for you. If you do not have an alarm monitoring service, you must complete and return the Alarm License / Renewal Application within five (5) days after the alarm system is installed.
Alarm License Rate Table 2020
|Fee||Business Start Date||Fee|
|January - March||$50.00||January - March||$80.00|
|April - June||$38.00||April - June||$60.00|
|July - September||$25.00||July - September||$40.00|
|October - December||$13.00||October - December||$20.00|
If you received a Notice of False Alarm Penalty, you may contest the fee or penalty by filing an Appeal of Alarm Fee Assessment, Penalty, or License Revocation (pdf) form. All requests must be submitted within 15 days after the date of notification. In the case of false alarm penalties, the notification is the "invoice date" provided on the Notice of False Alarm Penalty form. Submit the completed form along with the full amount of any penalty imposed, plus any accrued interest and costs. The penalty will be refunded if the appeal is granted.
Please note that appeals will not be granted for false alarms that are a result of the following:
- Any occurrence where no evidence of criminal activity is present
- Faulty, defective or malfunctioning equipment supplied by the alarm company.
- Improper installation, maintenance, monitoring by the alarm company or property owner
- Alarm activations which occur while alarm technicians are repairing, servicing or testing the alarm system
- Mistakes made by private contractors, maids, cleaning crews, realtors, caretakers, pets, rodents or wildlife, etc.
- Items within the home or business that move and cause alarm to activate (curtains, signs, balloons, plants, etc.)
This list is intended only as a guide to assist you in deciding whether to appeal a false alarm assessment or whether to contact your alarm company for further discussion. This list is not intended to cover every situation where an appeal may be denied.
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