False Alarms: A community Problem
The Maple Valley Police Department is committed to creating and maintaining a positive relationship with the community. However, false alarm calls have a significant impact on police resources and could result in taking officers away from actual criminal activity. Frequent false alarms may subject you to fines under the Maple Valley Municipal Code 9.05.340 or result in a "no response" status. The police department hopes to reduce the number of false alarms through education regarding common equipment failures and human errors. There is no need to obtain a permit or to register your alarm within the City of Maple Valley.
What is a False Alarm?
A false alarm is any alarm caused by human error or equipment problems that require police response, with no evidence of an actual crime having been committed.
What you can do to help
Make sure everyone that has access to the premises is familiar with the alarm system operations (i.e. Babysitters, relatives, and hired workers).
- Make sure all doors and windows are secure when alarm is in "ON" mode to reduce the chance of someone entering the residence and setting the alarm off.
- Check for drafts that may move curtains, plants, or hanging objects, such as Mylar balloons, which would activate motion detectors.
- If you have pets, take special care to purchase an alarm system that is tolerant of pets. Pets that have free run of the house may set off motion detectors and some dog barks may activate glass break detectors.
- If you've had problems during our frequent power outages, contact your alarm company. There are updated control panels that will prevent false alarms during power surges and power reactivation.
- Regularly replace batteries in your system per manufacturer's specifications. Test your system regularly. Be sure to notify your alarm company first so no police dispatch is made.
- Have your alarm system checked once a year by a licensed alarm company.
- Know how to cancel a false alarm quickly. Have the Alarm Company's phone number accessible to the users. If you or someone else who has access to your alarm system activates the system accidentally, immediately call the Alarm Company and provide them with the proper code or password.
Penalties for Excessive False Alarms
The Maple Valley Municipal code, 9.05.340, mandates civil penalties for excessive false alarms. Two or more false alarms in any consecutive six-month period may be punishable by a civil penalty.
|2nd False Alarm
|3rd False Alarm
|4th False Alarm and any excessive false alarms||$100.00|
After a third false alarm in a six-month consecutive period, the Chief of police or a designee from the police department shall send a notification to the alarm user and the alarm monitoring company (if any) that the third false alarm has occurred and a fourth false alarm in any consecutive six-month period may result in a no-response status. Any non-payment will also result in a no-response status.
A no-response status means that the Maple Valley Police Department may not be dispatched to investigate a report of an alarm system activation at a business or residence that has a record of four or more false alarms within a continuous six-month period, if the alarm is the only basis for making the dispatch.
In order to reinstate from a no-response status an alarm user must show that reasonable effort has been made to correct the false alarms, including documentation from an alarm business, stating that the alarm system is operating properly and the alarm users are properly trained in the alarm system's operations.
Any person or business cited has a right to a hearing to contest the validity of either the notice of infraction or the amount of the civil penalty or both.
- The request must be in writing on a form provided.
- The request must be filed with the Maple Valley Municipal Court within ten (10) days after the notice was issued.
- A person or business has until ten days after the date of the request for hearing to cancel the hearing by making a payment to the issuing court in the amount of the civil infraction.
See the Maple Valley Municipal Code 9.05.340 for more information.
If you have any questions or comments, please call the Maple Valley Police Department at (425) 413-5158.