City of Dixon Alarm Ordinance

Dixon Municipal Code 9.03

The Dixon Police and Fire Departments respond to well over 1,000 alarms annually. Of these, better than 98% are false. They are the result of employee/owner error, animals, open doors/windows and faulty alarm equipment. As a result, more than 500 hours of Police Officers’ and firefighters time are spent annually in response to these false alarms. This means there is that much less time they have for needed police/fire work. In addition, this creates a very hazardous situation for the personnel and citizens. Police Officers/Firefighters, attempting to respond quickly as is reasonable, increase their chances of accidents and, more importantly, get lulled into a feeling of “just another false alarm,” thus could fail to take proper safeguards and open themselves to personal hazard when the alarm is valid.

The City of Dixon has adopted an alarm ordinance that defines our alarm policy, outlines what it is to be considered excessive false alarms and outlines our procedures for fees and charges for excessive false alarms. The Police and Fire Departments are not trying to discourage citizens from using alarm systems, but we are trying to encourage reasonable use. Alarm systems provide an important assess to crime and fire prevention along with detection.

A copy of the ordinance is available at City Hall, the Police Department, or the Fire Department.

View the following summary outline of the ordinance:

Chapter 9 - Section 9.03.010 - Purpose

This Chapter is enacted to promote the health, welfare and safety of the citizens of Dixon by reducing false alarms, permitting the recovery of costs resulting from responses to false alarms, and regulating the use of certain alarm systems in the City of Dixon. False alarms constitute a hazard to the safety of peace officers, fire fighters and the public in general, both because of the danger of collisions while en route to false alarms, and because responding to false alarms diverts police and fire resources from other important duties.

Section 9.03.020 - Definitions.

A. Alarm agent - any person who is employed either directly or indirectly by an alarm business and who sells, installs, or monitors alarm systems or who notifies public safety officials following the activation of an alarm system.

B. Alarm system - any device designated for the detection of an unauthorized entry or attempted entry into a structure, or for alerting others of the commission of an unlawful act, fire or emergency medical situation, and which when activated, emits a sound, light, or transmits a signal or message. The term “alarm system” includes crime prevention alarms, and fire and emergency medical alarms. As used in this Chapter, the term “Alarm System” does not include:

Audible alarms affixed to automobiles, boats, boat trailers, or recreational vehicles.

Alarms devices installed in residential structures and not monitored by an Alarm Agent.

Alarm devices installed on a temporary basis by the Dixon Police Department or the Dixon

Fire Department, or hand held/portable personal safety devices.

C. Alarm business - the business of any person of leasing, monitoring, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any alarm system in, over, under or on any building, structure or facility. Alarm business does not include a business, which engages in the manufacture or sale of an alarm system, unless such business services, installs, monitors or responds to alarm systems at the protected premises. Alarm businesses shall be licensed in accordance with the provisions of Business and Professions Code section 7590 et seq.

D. False alarm - activation of an alarm system which results in a response by the Police or Fire Department and which the Department determines was not warranted by a crime or emergency situation.

Section 9.03.030 - Alarm Permit Required.

It is unlawful for any person or persons to install or use any alarm system without a valid alarm permit duly by the City pursuant to this Chapter. The alarm permit application shall include the following:

The name, address, and telephone number of the alarm business or its alarm agent.

The name, address, and telephone number of the permittee.

The address and telephone number of the site on which the alarm system is installed.

The location, classification and purpose of the alarm system.

The name of at least one (1) person other than the permittee responsible for responding to the alarm site, and the address and telephone number of such person.

Section 9.03.070 - Separate Permit for Each Residence, Business.

A separate permit must be obtained for each private residence, branch establishment or location of a business. Each permit shall authorize the use of an alarm system for each separate location designated in the permit.

Section 9.03.090 - Acts Constituting a Nuisance.

Any alarm system that causes a false alarm to occur more than three (3) times in the same calendar month shall constitute a nuisance. The following are declared to constitute false alarms:

User error - Any permittee or their agent who by their actions or inaction causes an unintended activation of their alarm system.

Mechanical error - An alarm system that causes an unwanted activation due to the alarm system being damaged, installed incorrectly, or operating in a defective condition.

False dispatching - An alarm agent that alerts public safety services prior to confirming that the activation of an alarm system is legitimate, except in the case of fire alarms where the alarm agent is required by law to notify the Fire Department prior to notifying the permittee.

Other - Any other activation of an alarm system that results in a response by the Police or Fire Department when the Department reasonably determines was not warranted by a crime or other emergency situation.

Section 9.03.120 - Penalties for Violations.

Any permittee found responsible for a nuisance alarm shall be fined a fee established by resolution of the City Council. Per a resolution the City Council has adopted a fine of $100 after the third false crime notification alarm in a calendar month, and a fine of $325 shall be charged after the third false fire or emergency medical alarm in a calendar month.

Section 9.03.130 - Suspension of Response.

Upon the third false alarm within same calendar month, response to any further alarms at the permittee’s location may be suspended by the Chief of Police or Fire Chief, as applicable, until such time as the condition or conditions giving rise to the false alarms has been corrected to the reasonable satisfaction of the Chief of Police or Fire Chief.

Section 9.03.140 - Hearing on Suspension of Response.

Upon receipt of a timely written request by the permittee, the Fire Chief or Chief of Police shall set the time, date and location of a hearing on the suspension of response, which hearing date shall be within 30 days of the effective date of the suspension.

Alarm permits registration forms are available at the Police and Fire Departments. All users are required to register with either the Police or Fire Departments and should do so as soon as possible.

Please feel free to contact either department with any questions you may have.