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Alarms
Charlotte – Mecklenburg Police Department
False Alarm Reduction Unit
1750 Shopton Road
Charlotte, NC 28110
Office) 704-432-0431              Fax) 704-432-1132
 
In 1996 the Charlotte City Council and the Mecklenburg County Commissioners found that the excessive false alarms unduly burden the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and waste limited police resources.  They adopted the Alarm Ordinance to establish reasonable expectations of alarm users and to ensure that alarm users are held responsible for their use of alarm systems.
 
Alarm Ordinance Highlights
 
Required registration of all burglar alarm systems whether monitored or not.
Registration is FREE.
Failure to register could result in a $100 fine.
False alarm fines begin on the third (3rd) false alarm and range from $50 to $500.
A permit is valid for 12 months from the date of issuance.
Permit renewals are required every 12 months.
Fine Schedule
 
False alarms #1 and #2:                        Fines are waived
3rd, 4th, and 5th false alarm:                    $50 each
6th and 7th false alarm:                           $100 each
8th and 9th false alarm:                           $250 each
10th and consecutive false alarms:          $500 each
Failure to pay a false alarm fine within 30 days of the date on the invoice will result in discontinuance of police response to future alarms.
 
About the False Alarm Reduction Unit
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department receives over 50,000 requests each year for police response to alarm calls, of those responses, 98% are determined false.  The primary goal of the False Alarm Reduction Unit is to reduce the number of false alarms that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department responds to, thus allowing the officers to concentrate on other areas of crime prevention and law enforcement.  The False Alarm Reduction Unit maintains a database of alarm permits, tracks registrations, educates employees and citizens, holds monthly advisory meetings with alarm companies, and handles all false alarm appeals as outlined in the appeal process.
 
For more information, contact the False Alarm Reduction Unit at 704-432-0431
 
 
If you have an electronic burglar alarm system installed within the city limits of Charlotte or the unincorporated areas of Mecklenburg County, it must be registered.  Auto, Fire, and Medical alarm systems are excluded.  A permit is valid for 12 months from the date of issuance.
Things you should know about your permit
  • Use the above links to apply or renew a permit online.  If you choose, you may print out a paper copy and submit it by mail or fax.
  • An alarm permit may take up to 10 business days to process. 
  • An alarm permit will be issued to the address you specified.  It is non-transferable.  Upon receipt of the permit number, whether electronically or by mail, it is your responsibility to provide this number to your alarm company.  The police cannot respond to an alarm at your address unless the alarm company has this number when calling to request police dispatch.
Responding to false alarms is costly to you & your Police Department. Listed below are some tips that can help you prevent false alarms and possibly save you money in the form of false alarm fines.
 
  • If your alarm is accidentally activated, don't panic, don't call 911, call your alarm monitoring station immediately.  Give them your pass code and/or password.
  • Make sure all alarm users and key holders at your address are trained to use the system.
  • You can arrange to have your alarm monitoring station call you or another designated person first instead of the police when your alarm is activated.
  • If you expect workers, real estate agents, delivery personnel, etc. do not set your alarm.  If you must set your alarm, meet the people at your site to deactivate the alarm. Remember that you are responsible for their actions. You can also arrange with your alarm company to have separate codes for them.
  • If your system sends a silent panic/duress signal when an incorrect code is entered, understand that your alarm company may not call you to verify the alarm.  You should contact your alarm company if the alarm is false and have them to cancel the police.
  • Be sure that doors and windows are tight fitting. Adjust hinges and strike plates on doors, so they move no more than ¼ inches when pulled or pushed on.
  • Have an arming delay of at least 45 seconds on all doors.
  • Do not leave doors and windows open or unlocked while you are away.  Be sure all doors and windows are properly closed and locked prior to arming the alarm system.
  • Do not leave anything that will move (pets, balloons, drapes, fans, etc…) in a room that is protected with a motion detector.
  • Have the sensitivity settings on glass-break sensors adjusted so that sounds, such as thunder and outside construction, do not activate them.
  • You can arrange with your alarm company not to dispatch the police for interior motion sensor activations without having other sensors activated (i.e.... a door activation with a motion sensor activation). 
  • If storms or brief power outages of 4 hours or less activate your alarm system, your system needs to be checked by a professional. These may be caused from dead/low batteries. Alarms during brief power outages cannot be waived. Have your alarm system checked and tested regularly.
  • Call your alarm company after each false alarm to determine the cause of the false alarm.  You may continue to have false alarms until the problem is repaired or adjusted.
  • If a fence encloses your permitted location, the Police will need someone to respond so they could properly check the premises. Please ensure that your call list is up to date with Charlotte Alarm Management Services and your alarm company.
The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County False Alarm Ordinance, Section 15-187, defines a "false alarm" as an activation of an alarm through mechanical or electronic failure, malfunction, improper installation, or the result of negligence of the alarm user, his employees or agents, and signals activation to summon police personnel unless law enforcement response was cancelled by the alarm user or his agent before police arrive at the alarm location.  An alarm is false within the meaning of this article when, upon inspection by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, evidence indicates that no unauthorized entry, robbery, or other such crime was committed or attempted in or on the premises which would have activated a properly functioning alarm system.
 
Appeals will not be granted for false alarms that are the result of:
 
  1. Faulty, defective, or malfunctioning equipment
  2. Improper installation or maintenance
  3. Improper monitoring by the alarm company
  4. Mistakes made by contractors, maids, realtors, etc…
  5. Items which cause motion detectors to activate (balloons, curtains, etc…)
  6. Activations due to loud noises
  7. Loose fitting doors and windows
  8. Pets, rodents, or any other animal or insect
This list is intended as a guide to assist you in deciding whether to appeal a false alarm or contact your alarm company.  This list is not intended to cover every situation for which an appeal may be denied.
 
You may file an electronic appeal with the False Alarm Reduction Unit by submitting an email to alarms@cmpd.org.  Be sure to include your name, the alarm location, date of the false alarm, your permit number, reasons for the appeal, and any supporting evidence.
 
 
If you have received an invoice from the Charlotte Alarm Management Services and wish to pay the balance, please choose one of the three payment options.
 
  • Pay Fines Online
    • Be sure to have your permit number and credit card handy.
  • Pay by phone using 1-800-928-4136
    • Be sure to have your permit number and credit card handy.
  • Pay by check (no cash)
    • Make your check payable to the City of Charlotte
      Mail it to:         
      Charlotte Alarm Management Services
      PO Box 26028  Raleigh, NC 27611-6028.
      ATTENTION: Please allow up to three (3) business days to process all payments received.
 
 
Who needs an alarm permit?
 
            Anyone possessing a burglar alarm system, device, or assembly of equipment designed to signal the occurrence of an illegal or unauthorized entry or other activity requiring immediate attention and to which the police department is expected to respond, but does not include alarms installed in motor vehicles, fire alarms, domestic violence alarm, or alarms designed to elicit a medical response.
 
How do I obtain a permit?
 
            You may have been given an application by your alarm company, but you may also download a copy from this website.  Applications can also be found at all Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Division Offices, Mecklenburg County libraries, and the Government Center.
 
What do I do with the permit once I receive one?
 
            The alarm permit is specific to you at that address.  It is your responsibility to provide the permit number to your alarm company.  If you fail to do so, it is possible that you will not receive police response to an alarm call.  Police dispatch to alarm calls are by permit only.
 
I lost my permit number, how can I get another one?
 
            You do not need another permit number unless you have changed addresses.  We will provide you with your specific permit number if you contact us by phone or in writing with your request.
 
I received an alarm notification sticker on my door/window, what does this mean?
 
            That false alarm notification sticker was left as a courtesy informing you of a false alarm at your address.  A letter will be mailed to you stating the nature of the response by the police officer.  You may elect to contact your alarm company to determine what happened and if a problem exists with your alarm system.
 
I received a false alarm notification in the mail, but the officer didn't leave a sticker.  How can I be sure they arrived?
 
            The false alarm notification sticker is a courtesy to you.  The letter is the official notification that your alarm was activated and the police arrived at your address.
 
Where does the money go that is collected from false alarm fines?
 
            The money collected from false alarm fines pays for the cost of the program. 
 
Can I appeal a false alarm?
 
            You may appeal any false alarm notification you receive.  Alarm users should use the appeal guideline as a reference to determine what is considered a false alarm.  A good rule of thumb is to determine if criminal activity has occurred and not who's fault it might have been.
 
Why does the Charlotte Alarm Management Services have a PO Box in Raleigh, NC?
 
            The City of Charlotte has contracted the management of the false alarm program to the Charlotte Alarm Management Services.  Their office is located in Raleigh, NC.  They handle all of the paperwork surrounding the permitting, invoicing, billing, and maintenance of the data.
 
I have moved out of the city/county/state, how can I close my account?
 
            If you no longer own, rent, or are held responsible for the address you had a permit for, we encourage you to notify us in writing that you wish to close the permit account.  The written letter can be mailed to: Charlotte Alarm Management Services
 
                                      PO Box 26028
                                      Raleigh, NC 27611-6028.
 
Or faxed to: 1-919-833-9842
 
I have moved from one local address to another, can I still use the same permit number?
 
            No.  Each permit is site and owner specific.  If you move, you need a new permit.  Keep in mind that all old permits need to be closed.  If you happen to sell an address (business or house) with an installed alarm system, you cannot transfer the permit number to the new owner (even if they are going to use the same alarm company).
 
 
            A copy of the alarm ordinance (Chapter 15 Article VIII) can be obtained from the internet at http://www.municode.com/Resources/gateway.asp?pid=19970&sid=33 .  You may also obtain a copy by visiting the government center at 600 E. 4th Street, Charlotte, NC.