Alarm systems

Do you have a burglar alarm in your home or business?

If you do, you are required to apply for an alarm permit with the Santa Ana Police Department, per the Santa Ana Municipal Code.  The application and permit process enables the department to monitor excessive false alarms originating from each location.


A false alarm is defined as the activation of an alarm system necessitating response by the police department where an emergency for which the alarm system was designed or used does not exist.


If there is no physical evidence that there has been an unauthorized entry or attempted entry such as pry marks, glass breakage, evidence of missing property, or witness or extenuating circumstances, then the alarm is deemed to be false.  Alarm activations caused by misuse, accidental tripping, system malfunction, animals, insects, or neglect by the alarm user are also deemed false.

Permit application

It is the responsibility of the alarm user to apply for an Alarm Permit from the Police Department.  There is an annual fee of $37.47 associated with the processing of an application, and a permit allows one false burglary alarm without a penalty.  Applications can also be obtained at City Hall.

  • The 12-month period is not based on the calendar year.  It is determined by the date of the most recent false alarm.
  • After the sixth false alarm in any 12-month period, the alarm user will receive a non-response warning.
  • After the eighth false alarm in any 12-month period, the police will no longer respond to alarm activations originating from the location.
  • Unpaid alarm penalty fees will result in automatic non-response status.

False alarm prevention tips

Causes of false alarms

  • Unlocked or loose doors
  • User error
  • Pets or rodents
  • Children, neighbors, visitors, relatives, remodeling, etc.
  • Mechanical problems with alarm system or poor installation of system
  • Failure to have an uninterruptible power supply to the alarm system in cases of power outages

What to do if you accidentally set off your alarm system

  • Don't panic. You have time to enter your disarm code (carefully) to reset your system.
  • Call your alarm company or central station. Give your pass or ID code, which is usually different from your disarm code.
  • Do not leave your home or business until you have talked with your monitoring station.
  • Any person who has access to your property MUST be able to operate the alarm. This includes contractors, cleaning crew, employees, friends, and others who may enter your property.

Before you activate your alarm system

  • Securely close and lock all protected doors and windows. If you are leaving your home, make sure the door you leave by is closed tight.
  • Keep pets, fans, heaters, etc. away from motion sensor areas.
  • Know how to cancel an accidental alarm.
  • Know your entry and exit time after your alarm system has been armed and disarmed.

Some suggestions if you are having excessive false alarms

  • Have your alarm system inspected and/or maintained on a regular basis to ensure proper operation.
  • Have your alarm company call a responsible party and obtain permission to dispatch the police when the alarm is set off.
  • Contact your alarm company and find out the alarm's problem zone, if any. If there is one, have the alarm company come out and inspect the system or not dispatch the police if the alarm is activated in that zone.

Right to discontinue police response

  • Eight penalty assessments within a 12-month period, or failure to pay penalty assessment fees, shall be subject to discontinuance of police response.  Reinstatement occurs after written correspondence regarding corrections and/or proof of penalty assessment fees paid are received by the Alarm Coordinator.

When to Notify Police Department

  • If an alarm activation was the result of a criminal act or attempt, contact the Santa Ana Police Department at (714) 245-8665 to report the crime.
  • If you moved and/or no longer have an alarm system, you must notify the Alarm Coordinator in writing at the address provided below.
  • If any of the information originally provided on the alarm permit application has changed, notify the police by submitting a new application.

Please contact the Alarm Coordinator at (714) 245-8011 if you have any questions. Written correspondence may be addressed to:

Santa Ana Police Department
ATTN: Alarm Coordinator
60 Civic Center Plaza, M-97
Santa Ana, CA  92701

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