Bakersfield False Alarm Reduction Program
Fact Sheet and FAQ's:
Why does Bakersfield need an alarm ordinance?
Bakersfield city officials determined an ordinance was needed due to an increasing number of false alarms. In 2012, the Bakersfield Police Department responded to 17,081 alarm calls of which nearly 97% were false alarms. When officers respond to false alarms, it removes them from their normal routine patrols and also delays their response to legitimate police emergencies.
The Bakersfield alarm ordinance was passed by the City Council and became effective August 27, 2011. A copy of the full ordinance is available on this website.
What is the purpose of the alarm ordinance?
The purpose of the alarm ordinance is to minimize or even eliminate false alarms in Bakersfield for both residential and commercial properties that the Police Department responds to, thereby freeing up police resources to respond to emergencies.
What does the ordinance require me to do?
Section 5.08.030 of the Bakersfield Municipal Code requires all alarm system users to obtain a Bakersfield alarm permit. You are also required to maintain and operate your alarm system in a manner which will reduce or eliminate false alarms.
Why do I need a permit?
What happens if I do not get one?
You need a permit so that the Police Department is able to implement the provisions of the ordinance. In addition, the Police Department needs to know where alarm systems are being operated and who is responsible for their use.
Failure to obtain a permit is a violation of Bakersfield Municipal Code 5.08.190, with penalties up to and including a misdemeanor violation.
Is the information provided on the permit application confidential?
Yes. This information is only used to help the Police Department contact you or the person you designate, if your alarm is activated.
How do I obtain a Bakersfield alarm permit and how much does it cost?
To obtain a Bakersfield alarm permit, you need to complete an application. Applications are available online at:
On the website, complete the application under the tab “New Alarm Users”.
Printed applications are also available at both police facilities:
Downtown station: 1601 Truxtun Avenue
Westside station: 1301 Buena Vista Road
The initial fee for an alarm permit is $31.
Payment can be made online on the above listed website or make your check, money order, cashier's check or certified check payable to “Bakersfield False Alarm Reduction Program” and mail to: PO Box 749899, Los Angeles, CA 90074-9899.
How often do I have to renew my permit and is there a cost to renew my permit?
Alarm permits must be renewed annually. All permits expire one year from the date of issuance. You will receive a notice, mailed to the address on file thirty days before your permit is set to expire. The cost to renew your permit is $15.
What is the definition of a “false alarm”?
Bakersfield Municipal Code 5.08.010(M) defines a false alarm as “an alarm system that emits a light or sound or transmits a signal or message resulting in a response by the Police Department when the situation does not require such a response”. An activation of an alarm system caused by a criminal or attempted criminal activity that results in a police response is not considered a false alarm.
How can false alarms be avoided?
Refer to the section entitled “Tips to prevent false alarms” on this website.
What about false alarms caused by the weather?
Pursuant to Bakersfield Municipal Code 5.08.010(M), “false alarms caused as a result of power failure, power surges, or acts of nature which are not the fault of the alarm user or business shall not be considered to be a false alarm”. An “act of nature” is generally considered an act attributable to nature without human interference (uslegal.com). This would include major storms.
Will I be charged for alarm activations that are not false?
No, the city ordinance allows charges for false alarms only.
How much will I be charged for a false alarm?
For the first false alarm within a 365 day period, no fee is charged. All additional false alarms within a 365 day period are charged as follows:
- 2nd False Alarm: $105, which can be waived if you attend the online alarm school.
- 3rd False Alarm: $105 – no waiver.
- 4th False Alarm: $210 and you must supply a certification of operation from an alarm company.
- 5th alarm: $315 and your alarm permit may be suspended or revoked. (See below for information regarding the reinstatement process.)
- For charges after the fifth false alarm within a one-year period, please contact the Bakersfield False Alarm Reduction Program at (877)665-2984.
What if I do not agree that I am responsible for a false alarm?
Refer to the section entitled “Appeal Procedures” on this website.
What would cause the Police Department to stop responding to my alarm?
The Police Department may stop responding to your alarm if your alarm system falls under the category of “nuisance alarm”. One of the ways in which an alarm system may be classified as a “nuisance alarm” is when it activates five or more false alarms within a one-year period. If your alarm system falls into that category, the Police Department may not respond to future activations unless a violation of the law is reported to the Police Department by a witness at the scene of the alarm.
Can my revoked permit be reinstated?
Yes, a revoked permit may be reinstated once adequate evidence that the problems causing the alarm system to be a nuisance have been corrected and presented to the Chief of Police. You will also be required to pay all outstanding fees and provide proof that you attended and passed an online alarm school.
What will happen if I do not pay my fees for false alarms?
Failure to pay assessed fees in a timely manner is a violation of Bakersfield Municipal Code 5.08.190. You may be subject to civil monetary penalties and/or charged with a misdemeanor.
Are there alarm systems that do not require a permit?
Yes. The ordinance only applies to buildings, structures or facilities. Therefore, car alarm systems are exempt from this ordinance.
Who can I call if I have additional questions or comments?
Please contact the Bakersfield False Alarm Reduction Program at (877)665-2984. The hours of operation are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.