Alarm Reduction Section
400 Washington Avenue, Room 149
Towson, Maryland 21204-4665
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The mission of the Alarm Reduction Section is to reduce the number of false alarms throughout Baltimore County and to inform the public of the negative impact false alarm activations have on public safety. The Alarm Reduction Section also insures that each alarm system activated in the County is registered and that each alarm business is authorized to engage in business within the County. These efforts, along with those of the County police department and our citizens, have resulted in the number of false alarms being reduced significantly allowing our police department more time to fight crime and keep our citizens safe.
Definition of an Alarm System
An “alarm system” is defined in the Baltimore County Code “as a devise or series of devices that emits, transmits or relays either an:
- Audible, visual or electronic alarm signal which is electronically programmed to cause contact with police personnel, or
- Audible or visual alarm signal which results in a police response at the alarm system user’s property when activated."
Medical emergency alarm systems as well as fire alarm systems are not within the purview of the Alarm Reduction Section. Consequently, information presented on this website relates exclusively to burglary and robbery alarm systems.
Administrative Obligation of Alarm Users
Generally, a home owner or business employs the services of a specialized business acting as an alarm system monitor. That company has the responsibility of communicating with the 911 Communication Center in the event of an emergency. Alarm users, whether residential or non-residential, have an obligation to be sure that their monitoring company has registered their alarm system with the County. The user should contact their monitoring company to be certain that the registration has been filed. Additionally, a user may call the Alarm Reduction Section to verify registration. Should you choose to register your system yourself, you may obtain a registration application by contacting the Alarm Reduction Section.
Please return the completed document to Alarm Reduction Section, 400 Washington Avenue, Room 149, Towson, Maryland 21204. No fee is required for registration. If a user chooses to act as their own monitor and fails to register the alarm system with the County, the user is subject to a $500 civil citation each time police personnel are dispatched to the system’s location for a false alarm. Accordingly, it benefits an alarm system user to register their system promptly. Proper registration of alarm systems allows the Alarm Reduction Section to maintain accurate information and enhances public safety.
Administrative Obligations of Alarm Business
To insure compliance with state and local laws, prior to operating as an alarm business in Baltimore County, each alarm system contractor and monitor must obtain a Baltimore County Alarm System Permit. Please contact the Alarm Reduction Section to obtain an application. Return the completed form along with a $50 check or money order to the Alarm Reduction Section, 400 Washington Avenue, Room 149, Towson, Maryland 21204. If a business seeking a permit has a valid Baltimore County Electrical License, the fee will be waived. Additionally, alarm businesses that fail to secure a permit are subject to a fine of up to $1,000 each time police personnel are dispatched to a false alarm occurring at one of the company’s customer’s locations. Consequently, it benefits a company to file a timely application to obtain a permit.
Additional Obligations of Alarm Monitors
Alarm system monitors are required to register each of its alarm system customers with the Alarm Reduction Section prior to the user’s system being activated. To obtain a registration application for either residential or non-residential customers, please contact the Alarm Reduction Section. Submit the applicable registration form to the Alarm Reduction Section, 400 Washington Avenue, Room 149, Towson, Maryland 21204. No fee is required when registering a system user. If police personnel are dispatched to an unregistered alarm user location the monitor is subject to a fine not to exceed $1000. Therefore, a monitor should insure that a customer’s registration if filed on a timely basis.
What is a False Alarm?
Baltimore County Code, 2003, Article 13, Title 11, Subtitle 2, defines a “false alarm” as any alarm that is electronically programmed to summon police personnel or that results in a police response to the alarm system user’s property and for which there is no evidence found, after reasonable investigation, of criminal activity, property damage or medical emergency which would justify a police response. With the exception of a landlord whose rental agreement includes an alarm system, false alarm fees relate only to the alarm system user.
False Alarm Fee Schedule
Every alarm user is allowed two "free" false alarms in a calendar year. The County will impose a false alarm fee if an alarm user has three or more false alarms in a calendar year. The false alarm response fee for alarm users begins at $50 for the third false alarm and will escalate to $500 per false alarm.
False Alarm Occurrence
Fee Per Event
14th and above
False Alarm Appeal Guidelines
Baltimore County Code, 2003, Article 13, Title 11, Subtitle 2, indicates that an alarm system user who has received a false alarm warning or been assessed a fee for a false alarm may appeal the violation, in writing, to the Alarm Reduction Section within 90 days of notification of a warning letter or fee assessment.
Certificate of Inspection
Download information on the Certificate of Inspection (PDF) program.
Revised November 10, 2016