Did you know that over 98 percent of alarms responded to by the Cedar Rapids Police Department are false alarms? Each false alarm takes up valuable time from the officer on the street to respond to true emergency calls (i.e. medical, criminal, car accidents with injuries, etc.) wastes fuel, increases the risk of accidents, causes wear and tear on equipment, and reduces police service to areas with greater needs. This all equates to your tax dollars not being utilized to their maximum.
Over the years, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent responding to these calls by offices, not to mention dispatch and administrative costs spent for billing and receipting.
The City's Finance Department coordinates the alarm program.
Charges for Police Response to Alarms (Effective July 1, 2021)
- The term false alarm means any alarm in which the Cedar Rapids Police Department responds, but for which an investigation discloses no evidence of a criminal offense or attempted criminal offense.
- Alarm users will be charged for each false alarm in accordance with the fee schedule adopted by Resolution of the City Council.
First alarm: No charge
Third through fourth false alarms: $50.00
Fifth and above false alarms: $100.00
- The fee schedule is based on false alarms during each fiscal year period.
If the alarm user does not pay the charge for a false alarm by the due date stated on the notice thereof sent to the user, the City may file a municipal infraction against the alarm user in accordance with Cedar Rapids Municipal Code §1.12 and §364.22 of the Code of Iowa, seeking judgment for the applicable false alarm charge. If judgment is entered for the City in the municipal infraction proceeding, the City may, subject to applicable law, pursue enforcement of the judgment together with interest as permitted by law. Collection of that judgment may include referral to the State of Iowa Income Offset program administered by the Department of Administrative Services, State Accounting Enterprise. Notwithstanding the City’s right to file a municipal infraction, the City may first seek voluntary payment of the fine by sending a written request for payment to the alarm user and/or referring the matter to a private service agent to conduct collection in accordance with all applicable law.
- Each false alarm charge which is not received as provided for in said ordinance and is referred to collection as provided for therein will include a non-payment penalty of 25%.
Ways to Reduce False Alarm Dispatches
- Fully educate every person whom give authority to enter your home or business on the operation of your system. This may include domestic/cleaning crews, children, neighbors, caretakers, employees, and temporary staff. Give them the proper pass code. If you change your pass code, be sure to inform users of the change.
- Regularly replace the batteries in your system as per manufacturer's specifications. Have your system checked once per year by a licensed alarm company.
- Test your system regularly by first notifying your monitoring company so that police response is not required.
- Keep door and window frames in good condition. Loose joints could cause false alarms.
- Drafts may move hanging objects (such as balloons), which may activate motion detectors.
- If you have pets, purchase an alarm system that is tolerant of pets. You may not want motion detectors if your pets have free run of the house when the alarm is on.