False Alarm Ordinance
On Oct. 1, 1990, the Clearwater alarm ordinance became effective (Clearwater Code Chapter 5 Article III). All businesses, residences and government buildings within the Clearwater city limits that have a security alarm system will be required to have an alarm permit issued by the Clearwater Police Department (section 5.61, 5.62, and 5.63). The complete text of this ordinance can be viewed here. There is no charge to register your alarm.
Upon installation of an alarm security system, registration must be completed with the alarm unit of the Clearwater Police Department. Failure to comply with the alarm ordinance and to register with the alarm unit of the Clearwater Police Department may result in a fine of $500. Upon notification of an alarm ordinance violation, registration must be completed within five days. Registration may be completed by mail, in person or online.
The permit year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 of the next calendar year.
For businesses, a building permit number and date of final inspection are required to be filled out on the alarm permit application. This is necessary only for businesses whose alarm system was installed after Sept. 30, 1990. Building permit numbers and final inspections are not required for installation of wireless alarm systems, unless new electrical connections are required. Residences do not require this information.
If your alarm system is installed and registered after Oct. 1, 1990, there is a 30-day grace period in which no false alarm service charge will be levied.
Alarm permits do not need to be renewed every year. However, alarm users are required to update the permit application information. To notify the police department's alarm unit of any changes, call (727) 562-4450, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Written notification of changes may be faxed to (727) 562-4415, or mailed to:
Clearwater Police Department
645 Pierce St.
Clearwater, Florida 33756
If the registered alarm permit holder moves, the alarm unit must be contacted immediately. The registered alarm permit holder remains responsible for false alarms at that address unless the alarm unit is notified that he/she no longer resides there.
The alarm permit decal should be displayed on or near the front entrance in clear view for police officers responding to an alarm. The permit number should be easily readable from outside of the building. Notify the alarm company of the permit number.
For the first false alarm of each permit year (Oct. 1 through Sept. 30) there will be no service charge, and a courtesy warning will be issued.
Thereafter, each false alarm following the warning will result in a $50 service charge. The alarm ordinance mandates that the home or business owner is the party responsible for the service charge. In cases where the alarm company agrees to pay the service charge for a false alarm caused by a mechanical problem, the home or business owner remains the party responsible for insuring that the service charge is paid within the 15-day period. The service charge must be paid within 15 days from the date of receipt of a notice of a false alarm. An appeal of the false alarm service charge must be filed within the same 15-day period.
An appeal is a request for hearing filed with the city clerk and accompanied by a filing fee of $25. Hearings are set within 20 calendar days of the filing date. If the service charge is not paid within 15 days and no appeal is filed, the alarm user's permit is automatically revoked.
The following are not valid excuses from false alarms:
- faulty installation of the alarm system
- owner-activated alarm
- family member, house guest or employee-activated alarm
- mechanical problem
- weather conditions (unless a direct lightning strike)
- person servicing house/business activated alarm (cleaning, lawn service, construction workers)
- alarm company activates alarm while repairing system
- poorly installed windows or doors
An alarm is presumed false if the police officer responding to the alarm finds no evidence of criminal activity, attempted criminal activity, or an emergency at the premises.
Any questions on the alarm ordinance and registration procedures should be directed to the alarm unit at (727) 562-4450 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.