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Alarm Permits and Alarm Ordinance FAQs


Why is an alarm permit required to operate an alarm system in the City of Los Angeles?

The Alarm Ordinance requires that an alarm permit be obtained to operate an alarm system in the City of Los Angeles. It is a misdemeanor to operate an alarm system without the required alarm permit. A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or a year in county jail or both.

Who is responsible for informing the alarm subscriber that an alarm permit is required?

Ordinance No. 180490 requires alarm companies to ensure prior to installing an alarm system, that a valid permit exists or, if not, to obtain one on the customer’s behalf.

Who could waive late penalty assessments for late renewals of alarm permits?

Although late fee waivers are granted very rarely and under very specific conditions, the Officer in Charge, LAPD-Alarm Section, is authorized to waive late penalty assessments.

If the alarm permit is on pending status since 2/5/13, 5/3/13, or 5/13/13, does that mean that the Police Commission denied the alarm permit application?

No. The application was granted but because of a computer glitch the status was not changed in LATAX. The Office of Finance, Director of Systems, is working on this issue.

How do I apply for an alarm permit?

Apply online at Application for Annual Police Alarm Permit or request an alarm permit application by contacting the LAPD-Alarm Section at (213) 996-1200.

When an alarm subscriber shows up at any of the satellite offices of the Office of Finance to apply for a permit or pay a false alarm charge, should I accept the permit application and payment?

Yes. The application and payment must be accepted at any branch location of the Office of Finance. The application and payment should be forwarded to the Office of Finance-Alarm Unit for processing.


I am not sure if a location is within the City of Los Angeles. Who can I contact to verify if the location is within the City of Los Angeles??

Contact the LAPD-Alarm Section at (213) 996-1200. Alarm Section staff has access to LAPD’s “Address Lookup” database. In addition, Alarm Section staff is authorized to obtain customer information from the Department of Water and Power

Who are eligible to waive a false alarm charge through Alarm School?

Alarm subscribers with a valid alarm permit are eligible to waive a false alarm charge once every 365-day period through Alarm School either online or mail in home study course.

Are written-off invoices still owed by the alarm subscriber

Yes. If the invoice has been written-off, it simply means that the receivable has been removed from the LAPD's record of receivables. However, it does not mean that the charge was waived. The City of LA could still collect the payment. If the alarm subscriber has questions relating the written off invoices, you may refer him/her to the LAPD-Alarm Section.

Are invoices deemed uncollectible still owed by the alarm subscriber?

Yes. Invoices deemed uncollectible remains the liability of the alarm subscriber. These invoices will be referred to a secondary collection agency if not paid to the City.

If an invoice has been sent to AllianceOne, can that invoice be recalled from collections?

Yes, as long as the payment was made within three days from the referral date. In case of late payments (i.e. more than three days from the referral date) the LAPD-Alarm Section should be notified that the payment has been made. The LAPD-Alarm Section staff will notify AllianceOne that payment on the invoice was received by the Office of Finance and only the collection fee is owed to AllianceOne.

The caller received a collection notice from Municipal Services Bureau, NCO, or Caine & Weiner. Should I refer him/her to the LAPD-Alarm Section?

No. Currently, the LAPD-Alarm Section uses two collection agencies namely AllianceOne and Harris & Harris. If the collection notice did not come from AllianceOne or Harris & Harris, the liability is unrelated to an unpaid false alarm charge. Refer the caller to the Office of Finance, Special Billing Unit, at (213)744-9383.

Why is it important to immediately post payments?

When payments are not posted timely, unnecessary delinquent and final notices are processed and mailed to the alarm subscribers. Alarm subscribers may also be referred to a collection agency unnecessarily.

If a non-profit organization applies for a P919 alarm permit, should it be processed as such?

No. Only alarm systems on premises owned and operated by Municipal, County, State, Federal authorities or as embassy or consular office or residence are approved for P919 status.

If unsure whether an organization should be granted P919 status, contact the LAPD-Alarm Section for clarification and verification.

If there is an escrow credit on an account, should I notify the alarm subscriber?

No. Escrow credits are investigated for accuracy. Some escrow credits could be due to double posting of a single payment to an invoice or misapplication of a payment to an account. In addition, some escrow credits could be applied to the alarm subscriber’s other outstanding invoices under a different registration/alarm permit number.

Can the Office of Finance reinstate a permit for the previous year after it has been discovered that the renewal payment was not correctly applied?

No. It is prudent to apply the renewal payment to the current year’s alarm permit.

Under what circumstances, if any, could an unpermitted false alarm rate be reduced to the permitted rate?

The unpermitted false alarm rate could be reduced to reflect the permitted rate if there’s a proof that the alarm permit application was mailed on or prior to the false alarm date.

What are the grounds for a waiver of false alarm fees?

Following are grounds for a waiver of false alarm fees:

  1. Criminal activity as evidenced by an Investigative Report (IR) filed within 30 days of the alarm date, or other verifiable evidence of a crime occurring on the alarm date which is deemed acceptable by the Board, or
  2. Acts of nature such as earthquake, flood ,hurricane force wind (over 70 miles per hour), fire, and verifiable power or telephone line failure.

If the alarm subscriber is questioning the false alarm invoice, what instructions should I give him/her?

Alarm subscribers questioning service charges billed to them shall request a waiver investigation by presenting a written request to the Board of Police Commissioners. Such request shall include documentation to support why a service charge should be waived. Mail the request to Los Angeles Police Department-Board of Police Commissioners, Alarm Section, 100 West First Street, Suite 147, Los Angeles, CA 90012. They could also fax the waiver request to (213) 996-1279 or email to

If the alarm subscriber asks why is there a charge for the police to respond to his/her alarm call, how should I respond?

Responses to false alarms are a special service rendered by the LAPD. It is the kind of service not utilized by the general population.