Crime prevention tip: The 6 most common causes of false alarms



MILTON, Ga. – Security system ordinances typically require homeowners and businesses with security systems to register or obtain an alarm permit. 

Registration fees and/or permits typically cost between $10 and $40, and in most cases, must be renewed on an annual basis. 

The charges levied by municipalities to security system companies in response to a false alarm are often passed on to the business or homeowner. Many municipalities will not charge a fee for the first false alarm, but repeat false alarm offenders can expect fees anywhere from $70 to $500 (check local programs for exact fee schedules).

In addition to the fiduciary obligations, reducing false alarms will result in better service and increased protection for home security system owners. 

Since false alarms are so prevalent, and the resources necessary to respond so expensive, the response time from police officers is not always ideal. If the number of false alarms is minimized, in the event of an actual break in, police officers will be able to respond more quickly. 

The goal of all security system owners should be to minimize false alarms.

The 6 most common causes of false alarms

Courtesy for the Milton Police Department

Faulty equipment: Despite the fact that most of the top home security companies utilize high-quality equipment from leading manufacturers, there may be occasions where a faulty piece of equipment is the source of false alarms.

Human error: Most home security systems are fairly easy to use and do not require significant training. However, following a new installation, some homeowners don’t take the necessary time to actually learn the system. It is important that any person with permission to enter the home understands how to operate the system.

Low batteries or inconsistent power source: Most wireless home security systems contain batteries that occasionally need to be changed and replaced. These system components typically give audible warnings when the battery levels are low, but in some cases, a low battery can trigger a false alarm. An inconsistent/unreliable power source can also be the cause of false alarms.

Unlocked or loose doors and windows: Door and window sensors are activated when the connection between the two sensors is disrupted. If a door or window is loose, it can easily be rattled by the wind and trigger an alarm. Doors that are locked with a deadbolt are typically more sturdy and can minimize unintentional sensor disturbances.

Incorrect installation: When the home security system is installed, it is critical that all sensors and detectors are appropriately aligned, and that all other equipment is installed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Homeowners installing do-it-yourself home security systems may be particularly susceptible to incorrect installation problems.

Pets, rodents and insects: Some motion detectors will be triggered by pets, rodents or insects. Homeowners with pets should be certain the home security system has sensors that are “pet-friendly,” as pets that are free to roam the house will trigger motion detectors and activate a false alarm. Rodents and insects can also trigger alarms.

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