Welcome to the City of Albuquerque

False Alarms Reduction Program

Frequently asked questions about the False Alarms Reduction Program.

False Alarm Reduction Unit

Phone: (505) 768-2144   Email: [email protected]

You may pay your alarm fees or fines online.  Please visit our Online Payment Page to use this service.

1.  Why is there a False Alarm Ordinance?

False alarms have become an enormous concern for law enforcement agencies everywhere.  Millions of dollars and man-hours are spent chasing "burglars" which turn out to be nothing more than floating birthday balloons, unrestricted pets, or paper falling from a fax machine (just to name a few).

We understand that by using your alarm system, you're looking out for those you care about.  The purpose of the Ordinance is not to make money.  In fact, the cost-recovery measures only cover about half of the false alarm related costs to the City.

The hope is to alleviate the false alarm problem, thereby redirecting public safety resources to more effectively serve the community as a whole.  Our goal is to make Albuquerque a safer place to live for all of our citizens, whether they own security systems are not.

2.  Why do I need to permit my alarm system?

In order to effectively address the false alarm problem the City must maintain a full time False Alarm Reduction Unit (FARU).  The FARU is responsible for maintaining a database of all alarm users and alarm companies, tracking all alarm dispatches, issuing False Alarm Notifications, collecting false alarm service fees, managing the appeal process, etc.  The cost of maintaining the FARU is specific to alarm users and alarm companies and should not be a financial obligation of the City's taxpayers as a whole.  The permit fee is used to off set the cost of the FARU.

Any alarm permit fees collected in excess of the operating costs of the FARU are used for the capital purchase of additional equipment for the Police Department.

3.  What is the cost of an alarm permit?

Residential and non-residential (businesses) pay an annual fee of $25.  Alarm Companies pay an annual fee of $150.

Current permitted alarm users will be notified automatically by the False Alarm Reduction Unit 30 days prior to their permit renewal date.

4.  Are alarm permits transferable?

No, they are specific to an owner and location.

5.  How do I permit my alarm?

It is the responsibility of your alarm company to provide your information to the False Alarm Reduction Unit (FARU).  The FARU will send you a permit application and invoice once this information is provided.

If you have had your alarm system installed for over 45 days and you have not received a permit application and invoice please contact the FARU directly at

768-2144.  It is your ultimate responsibility to ensure that your alarm system is properly permitted.

6.  What is the penalty for not permitting my alarm system?

Any person or entity charged with conducting any activity addressed by the Alarm Ordinance without a permit shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor and shall be subject to the provisions set forth in 1-1-99 ROA 1994 (up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail).  Each and every day such a violation is committed shall constitute a separate offense.

7.  Are all alarm systems required to be permitted?

All alarm systems that are either monitored or emit an audible sound that can be heard off premises are required to be permitted.

8.  What is a false alarm?

The activation of any Alarm System resulting in the notification of the Police Department, for which the responding officer finds no evidence of criminal activity or other threat of emergency of the kind for which the Alarm System was designed to give notice.

9.  Is there a charge for having a false alarm?

There is no charge for the first three false alarms in your permit year; however you will receive a notification from the False Alarm Reduction Unit that you have had a false alarm.  It is very important that you take the necessary steps to rectify any problems you have with your alarm system after you receive a notification.

You will be charged a false alarm service fee of $150 for each false alarm you have after your third in a permit year.  In the event you have more than ten false alarms in your permit year you will be charged a $500 excessive false alarm fee per false alarm.

10.  Is there any way to have a false alarm removed from my record?

Yes, you can have up to six false alarms removed from your record in a permit year if your alarm company submits a valid service receipt identifying a mechanical failure of your alarm system.  Documentation must be submitted to the False Alarm Reduction Unit within 10 days of the false alarm.

Submission of fraudulent documentation will result in either suspension or permanent revocation of your alarm companies permit and subject you to provisions set forth in 1-1-99 ROA 1994 (up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail).

11.  How do I know a police officer responded to my alarm and I am not being charged just because my alarm company called?

The False Alarm Reduction Unit (FARU) downloads the information on all alarm dispatches daily from the dispatch center.  The information includes the event number, the time of the dispatch, who requested the dispatch, the time the officer arrived at your location and the officer's identification number.  If you have any question regarding the response to your alarm please contact the FARU directly at 768-2144.

12.  The purpose of having an alarm system is to prevent a break-in, why am I being charged a false alarm fee if my system is doing what it is suppose to do and prevented a burglary?

The police officers of Albuquerque are highly trained professionals and follow a strict protocol upon arriving at the location that has had an alarm.  They check the premise for any possible signs of an intrusion or an attempted intrusion (cut screen, broken glass, jimmied door, etc).  If the responding officer determines that there are no signs of criminal activity the alarm call is classified as false.

13.  How do I appeal a false alarm service fee?

A request for appeal of a false alarm service fee must be submitted in writing no later than 30 days after the receipt of your False Alarm Notification.  Please note that mechanical failure of your alarm system or user error is not considered grounds for appeal.  Send your appeal to; False Alarm Reduction Unit, 400 Roma NW Albuquerque NM, 87102.

14.  Does the city of Albuquerque recommend what alarm company I should use?

No, however we do recommend that you use a company that is in current compliance and permitted with the City.  You can call the False Alarm Reduction Unit at

768-2144 to verify the current status of your alarm company.

15.  What do I need to know about alarm companies?

First, that they are in compliance and permitted with the City.

Most important, do they provide a verified response as required by law.  All alarm monitoring companies are required by law to verify an alarm (call the responsible party for the alarm location) prior to calling in an alarm to police dispatch.  If they are unable or refuse to provide this service, you may want to consider another company.


Other Sources of Information:
bullet False Alarm Reduction Association
bullet How to Prevent False Alarms
bullet Alarm Ordinance
bullet New Mexico Electronic Security Association (NMESA)
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