New Alarm Ordinance: What You Should Know
Security systems add peace of mind for us as homeowners, renters and business owners; especially when it comes to protecting yourself, your families, and your property & possessions. With this in mind, there are recent changes in the law that could affect your expectation of your security systems and your security alarm company. Effective September 1, 2005, the City of El Paso implemented changes to its Security Alarm Ordinance (Chapter 5.90 of the El Paso Municipal Code) that affect both alarm users and alarm companies. As in many cases, the law can be confusing and, at times, ambiguous. To help everyone understand, the following questions have been answered.
Who should obtain a Security Alarm Permit?
Any residence or business that has a security alarm system. This does not include medical alert systems or fire alarm systems. However, if you have a system that includes either of these components and also includes a burglary, intrusion or home security alarm component, you must obtain a Security Alarm Permit.
If I have a Security Alarm Permit, is it still good?
Permits that were obtained prior to September 1, 2005 had an expiration date of "Indefinite." In this case, if the City of El Paso has not sent you a renewal notice in the mail, you should renew your permit as soon as possible to ensure that the police will respond to your address in the event that your burglar alarm is activated and reported to the Police Department. Permits obtained after September 1, 2005 will have an expiration date of the anniversary month that you obtained the permit. This means, for example, that if you obtained your permit in November of 2005, your expiration date will be in November of 2006 and the City's Licensing Section will notify you by mail 30 days prior to this date that it is time to renew. If you are still unsure, you may contact the City's Licensing Section at (915) 541-4560 to check the status of your permit.
How do I obtain a Security Alarm Permit?
First, you need to obtain and fill-out a Security Alarm Permit Application. The application can be obtained from the City's Licensing Section located at City Hall, 2 Civic Center Plaza, on the 5th floor or you may download the application from the Police Department's Alarm Detail Website at: www.elpasotexas.gov/police/alarmunit.asp by clicking on the Security Alarm Permit Application-PDF link. Next, the application and a permitting fee of $21.00 can either be hand-delivered or mailed to:
City of El Paso
Developmental Services/Licensing Section
2 Civic Center Plaza
El Paso, Texas 79901-1196
Please keep in mind, if the application is mailed there could be a delay of 2-3 weeks before you actually obtain your permit. For questions regarding the application you may contact the City's Licensing Section at (915) 541-4560.
If I do not have a current Security Alarm Permit, will the El Paso Police Department respond if my security alarm goes off?
No, the Police Department does not respond to security alarm notifications from your alarm company where your address, residence or business does not have a current Security Alarm Permit issued by the City of El Paso.
If my alarm goes off, should my alarm company call me first before contacting the police?
Yes. The Ordinance requires your alarm company to make two attempts to contact you and verify the validity of the alarm before they contact the police.
Whose responsibility is it to notify me of the City's Security Alarm Permit requirement?
Your alarm company is responsible for ensuring that you have a Security Alarm Permit.
How many false alarms can I have before I am penalized?
You are allowed 3 false alarms in a 12-month period before you are fined. This means that if you exceed this amount within the 12-month period, you will be assessed a penalty fee as follows:
A. For your 4th & 5th false alarms: $50.00 each
B. For your 6th & 7th false alarms: $75.00 each; and
C. For your 8th or more false alarms: $100.00 each.
These penalties are assessed by the City's Financial Services Division-Comptroller's Office.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the appropriate section or department:
- For a complete copy of the Security Alarm Ordinance, you may contact the City Clerk's Office at 541-4127 or visit the City's website at www.elpasotexas.gov
- For information regarding the Security Alarm Application, contact the City's Licensing Section at 541-4560; or
- For questions concerning the Ordinance or the process in general, please contact the El Paso Police Department's Alarm Detail at 564-7172.
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