Summary of Enforcement Efforts
Our efforts at combating false alarms are getting results but there is work yet to be done. See a chart on the results of the Oxnard false alarm reduction effort from 2000 to 2009.
Use Only Licensed Alarm Companies
Make sure that you only deal with an alarm company licensed by the California State Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Security & Investigative Services. Consumer Affairs now offers a way to check for valid alarm licensing online. You can search by county name, alarm license number, or name of the alarm company, alarm company qualified manager or alarm company employee.
Not only must the company be licensed to do business in California, so must the alarm company employee that comes to your home or business to install or repair the alarm system. If in doubt, ask the alarm employee for his A.C.E. (Alarm Company Employee) card. If they do not have one in their possession, contact the Oxnard Police Department Alarm Control Officer immediately at 385-7672 and do not allow the employee to enter your home!
What is a False Alarm?
According to Oxnard City Code 16.1-48, a false alarm is any alarm, whether audible or silent, to which the responding officer finds no evidence or situation requiring a response by a police officer, such as an attempted crime, a crime in progress or a crime that has just occurred. A false alarm includes a site where one or more doors or windows are found unsecured and there is no evidence of unlawful entry. Alarms that are activated due to a power outage are also considered false. Silent robbery alarm set-off by owners or employees to report an incident other than a robbery is also a false alarm.
Examples of False Alarm Events
Alarm Operation Tips
IF YOU ACCIDENTALLY ACTIVATE YOUR ALARM
If you set off a burglary alarm by accident in a home or a business, try to contact the alarm company immediately if they do not call you. If you cannot recite the property's password or code word over the phone to the alarm operator, the police will be dispatched! It is recommended that you wait for the officers' arrival in front of the property in plain view. Remember that the responding officers probably do not know who you are, so be prepared to offer some form of identification to establish your legal presence on the property in question.
In the case of an accidental activation of a robbery or takeover (ambush) alarm, be aware that the responding officers must assume the worst... And the worst for them is the presence of armed suspects on the property. The alarm company will not call you to verify this type of alarm. You may receive a telephone call from police dispatch. It is essential that you do exactly as you are told.
Responding to alarm calls is serious business for the police. Every year, officers are killed while responding to these type of calls. Until proven otherwise, we must assume that we are dealing with a crime in progress. Keep this in mind when you accidentally activate your alarm.
Alarm System Fines, Fees, and Penalties
How to Appeal a Fine
You have the right to appeal alarm fines, fees and penalties. You may also appeal alarm permit denials, suspensions or revocations. If your appeal is about a permit, you must request a hearing by mail stating why you believe your alarm system now meets the standards established by the City. Once the fee and letter are received by the Police Department, the hearing will be held within 30 days.
If you are appealing a false alarm fine, you may request a hearing in person or by affidavit (in writing). The hearing is designed to give you an opportunity to show that the alarm reported to the Police either did not occur or were not false alarms. The hearing officer will determine if the fine, fee or penalties assessed by the Department are justified.
False Alarm School
FINALLY! There is an alternative to paying a fine for a False Alarm in Oxnard, California
The City of Oxnard has partnered with the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) to offer this informative and interactive online training for False Alarm Prevention. Those who receive a citation for a False Alarm can opt out of paying a fine by taking this online course. Simply take the course, pass the test, and print your certificate. Present your certificate stating that you have successfully taken the course and passed the test to the City of Oxnard and you will not be required to pay your fine.
The certificate is good for up to one false alarm fine. Details | Course Access
If you have any questions, please contact Celia Besore at 703/242-4670, Ext. 16, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summary of 2002 Alarm Code Changes
During public hearing, the Oxnard City Council approved Ordinance No. 2601 modifying local laws related to alarm response and billing. On July 4, 2002, the new ordinance went into effect. This letter is intended as an overview of these changes. The unabridged ordinance is also available online for your review.
The revised alarm systems ordinance makes important changes to the existing ordinance to increase the effectiveness of the City’s false alarm reduction program and to broaden the ordinance to address new technologies. The following are the highlights (not an exhaustive list) of the most important changes to the ordinance. For specific information, please consult the unabridged ordinance.
Central station monitoring companies must verify burglar (automatic) alarms before making an alarm dispatch request to police. Additional information for central stations available here.
The new ordinance now includes fire-related alarms and alarm users may be fined for false fire alarms.
Mobile Security Devices (Telematics)
Defines mobile security devices (MSD) as alarm systems and defines when police will respond. Requires information from companies making MSD dispatch requests. MSD companies are billed for false alarms directly. Allows for the suspension of police response if MSD companies do not pay for false alarm responses in a timely fashion.
Manual versus Automatic Alarms
Differentiates between manually activated and automatically activated alarms. Those alarms activated by the pressing of a switch will no longer have gratis false alarm responses. Alarms activated by automated devices will continue to enjoy two free false alarms in any consecutive twelve-month period.
Allows alarm users to appeal alarm action in person, through a representative, or in writing. Deactivation of Runaway Alarm Requires alarm sirens to reset after 15 minutes. Allows police or fire personnel to take whatever action is necessary to silence an audible alarm after 45 minutes of continual sounding.
Alarm Dispatch Suspension
Allows for the suspension of response to those alarm users who do not pay their alarm fines in a timely fashion (within 30 days) whose alarm systems generate eight or more false alarms in a twelve-month period. In order to reinstate response, the alarm user must attend a conference with the alarm administrator and alarm system provider. The user must provide proof of system repair and attend the City of Oxnard False Alarm School within 180 days.
Problems with Your Alarm Company
If you are having issues with your current alarm system or alarm company, the Ventura County Security Association is here to help. The VCSA offers no cost evaluation of your current alarm system and will work to help you resolve issues with your current alarm provider or even find you a new one. Contact the VCSA at (805) 529-8955 or at http://www.thevcsa.org.
False Alarm Links for Law Enforcement and Others
Central Station Information
False Alarm Reduction Association
International Association of Chiefs of Police False Alarm Perspectives
Security Industry Association
Central Station Alarm Association
Alarm Industry Research & Educational Foundation
False Alarm Analysis Program -- Free Tracking & Analysis Software for Law Enforcement
For additional information on false alarm abatement, permitting procedure and billing information, contact Oxnard Police Alarm Ordinance Coordinator at (805) 385-7672.
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