Alarm Pad

The Development Services Department’s Alarm Administration team administers the City of Austin’s Alarm Ordinance, issues alarm permits, and strives to improve public safety through education and awareness initiatives aimed at eliminating false alarms.

Visit the Alarm Administration Portal

The Alarm Administration Portal lets customers:

  • Apply for a Alarm Permit
  • Make a Payment
  • Check Account Balance

Click the Button to Access the Alarm Administration Portal

Alarm Administration Portal External page icon


Processes and Services Provided by Alarm Administration

iconApply for an Alarm Permit by mail or email

The City of Austin requires an alarm permit for each alarm system activated within a residence or commercial space within the Austin Police Department’s jurisdiction. 

step 1  Check your Jurisdiction

Before submitting an application, please check the jurisdiction of your alarmed location at Jurisdiction Web Map. The address must lie in Austin Full Purpose to apply for a permit with DSD Alarm Administration. If the address is not in Austin Full Purpose, please contact your local law enforcement department to determine your police jurisdiction.

step 2  Register

Complete an  Alarm Permit Application Form (PDF) 

Mail your completed application to DSD Alarm Administration, P.O. Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767, or email it to dsdalarm@austintexas.gov.

step 3  Pay your Permit Fee

If you are mailing your application, please include a check or money order for the permit fee. ($50 Residential or $110 Commercial)

If you are emailing the application, you will be contacted regarding your permit fee once the application has been processed. You may pay online or by check or money order once your alarm has been registered.

Your permit is not active until the permit fee has been paid.

iconCancel an Alarm Permit

An alarm permit can be canceled when the system no longer meets the criteria for a permitted alarm system per the ordinance or the permit holder moves from the address. Outstanding fees and penalties, not including renewal fees, must be paid, and written notice is required for cancellation. 

Complete an Alarm Permit Cancellation Form (PDF), or send a message to Alarm Administration at dsdalarm@austintexas.gov or P.O. Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767.

iconFalse Alarms

Police respond to thousands of false alarm calls every year. These unnecessary responses are costly and dangerous because they divert police, fire, and EMS resources from actual emergencies. There are easy steps you and your alarm dealer can take to prevent false alarms.

Know the common causes of false alarms:

  • User error
     
  • Unlocked or loose doors
     
  • Children, neighbors, maintenance/repair workers, or cleaning crews
     
  • Balloons, plants, or curtains caught in drafts
     
  • Pets or other wildlife
     
  • Equipment malfunction

Before you activate your alarm system:

  • Make sure anyone who uses the system is fully educated on its proper operation. This may include domestic/cleaning crews, children, neighbors, caretakers, and temporary staff.
     
  • Make sure you securely close and lock all protected doors and windows.
     
  • Keep pets, balloons, fans, heaters, etc. away from motion sensor areas.
     
  • Know and rehearse the process to cancel an accidental alarm. Anyone with your key should know this process.
     
  • Know how much time you have after you arm your system to leave and to disarm your system when you enter.

What to do if you set off your alarm accidentally:

  • Don’t panic. Carefully enter your disarm code to reset your system.
     
  • Wait for your alarm company or central monitoring station to call and give your password or ID card number.
     
  • Do not leave your home or business until you have talked with your monitoring station. Post the number by your control panel. If you don’t hear from them, call and cancel the police dispatch.
     
  • Do not call 911 to cancel alarm activations. You must call your monitoring station.

More false alarm prevention tips:

  • Train anyone with a key or access to monitored areas on complete system operation, including children, neighbors, employees, maintenance and repair workers, and cleaning crews.
     
  • Always keep doors and windows locked when the alarm is in an “on” mode to reduce the chance that friends, neighbors or customers enter and cause the alarm to activate.
     
  • If you have pets, take special care to purchase an alarm system that is tolerant of pets. You may not want to purchase motion detectors if your pets have free run of the house when the alarm is on. Also, sometimes barking dogs can activate glass break detectors.
     
  • Be aware of common triggers that can set off motion detectors in your home or business, such as balloons: banners or signs; plants or curtains caught in drafts; stacked items, such as boxes, that may fall.
     
  • Review with your alarm company the procedures that you expect them to follow when your alarm activates, including any special instructions (e.g., attempt to contact more than one person before requesting emergency dispatch, or only notify police if both exterior and interior zones are activated). Put your instructions in writing.
     
  • Have a maintenance contract with a licensed alarm company and have your alarm system checked every year.
     
  • Notify your alarm company if you:
     
    • Plan any home improvements or renovation projects, such as changing phone systems, the configuration of a room, adding a wall, rearranging cubicles, installing skylights or ceiling fans, or even fumigating;
       
    • Plan to change your alarm system batteries causing an interruption in your systems power supply; or
       
    • Acquire a pet or will have guests or workers in your home.
iconHow to Appeal a False Alarm Charge

Please read these instructions and guidelines in their entirety before you complete an Appeal Request Form (PDF). NOTE: Appeals are only granted to alarm users with existing permits. Non-permitted users are not eligible.

Request an Appeal Hearing

  1. Gather facts, documents, and/or records to prove the alarm was generated by a permitted alarm system (e.g., copy of the active permit for the alarm site) and one or more of the following:
     
    • Alarm was true and not false (e.g., copy of the police report confirming a break-in or robbery); 
       
    • Alarm did not occur at your location (e.g., copy of a police report, alarm company activity report showing no alarms occurred on the incident date, and/or letter from your alarm company indicating no request was issued to dispatch Austin Police Department); 
       
    • You were not the owner of the property at the time of the false alarm; or
       
    • Site is not within the Austin Police Department jurisdiction and, therefore, the City of Austin's Alarm Ordinance does not apply to the site.
       
  2. Complete an Appeal Request Form (PDF) and send it, along with all supporting documentation, to City of Austin Development Services Department, Attn: Alarm Administration, P.O. Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767, or email it to dsdalarm@austintexas.gov. NOTE: Submit the completed form and supporting documentation before the 10th day following the mailing date of the notice.

 

An appeal hearing will not be granted if the alarm was activated due to any of the following reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Caretakers who watch homes or businesses when owners are away
     
  • An occurrence where no evidence of criminal activity is present
     
  • Alarm activation which occurs while alarm technicians are repairing or servicing the alarm system
     
  • Glass break detectors which activate due to noise/sound other than actual glass breakage
     
  • Door and/or windows that become loose and cause a break in the contacts which activate the alarm
     
  • Alarms caused by apartment management employees
     
  • Faulty, defective or malfunctioning equipment supplied by the alarm business
     
  • Improper installation or maintenance by the alarm business
     
  • Improper monitoring by the alarm business
     
  • Improper use by the alarm user
     
  • Mistake made by private contractors, housekeeper, cleaning crew, etc.
     
  • Items within the home or business which move causing motion detectors to activate (e.g., curtains, signs, balloons, etc.)
     
  • Pets, rodents, and/or wildlife
iconFees and Penalties

Alarm Permit Fees

Type of Permit FY 2022-2023 Term
Residential (New or Renewal) $50 12 months
Business (New or Renewal) $110 12 months

False Alarm Fees

Burglary Calls

Up to 3 Calls in 12 Consecutive Months 4-5 Calls in 12 Consecutive Months 6-7 Calls in 12 Consecutive Months 8 or More Calls in 12 Consecutive Months
No Charge $50 each $75 each $100 each

Robbery/Panic Calls

Up to 2 Calls in 12 Consecutive Months 3 or More Calls in 12 Consecutive Months
No Charge $100 each

Late Payment Fee

$5 per month

Penalties for Operating an Alarm Without a Permit

  • $220 for each response to a non-permitted location 
     
  • Operator is subject to Class C misdemeanor charges
iconForms and Applications

For a complete list of forms and applications visit the Alarm Administration section of the Forms & Applications webpage.

iconContact Information

Phone: 512-974-5730

Email:  dsdalarm@austintexas.gov

Physical Address:

Mailing Address:

City of Austin Permitting and Development Center

6310 Wilhelmina Delco Drive

Austin, TX 78752

Development Services Department

Attn: Alarm Administration

P. O. Box 1088

Austin, TX 78767

Check out our frequently asked questions.