Renton requires registration for all monitored alarm systems

False alarms cost the city $350,000 a year in police staff time.

All homes and businesses in Renton city limits are now required to register their monitored alarm systems with the city and pay a one-time $25 registration fee. The move is part of an ordinance passed last year to decrease false alarm calls to the Renton Police Department and free up police time and resources.

The false alarm ordinance, approved in late December 2018 by the Renton City Council, changed from its original wording, which would have required all monitored alarm owners to get a permit. The registration process was easier than permitting and also offered more legal protection for the city, the Renton Reporter previously reported.

All registered users will have a 90-day grace period, which began May 1. The users will then be allowed one false alarm call, and after that, the user is charged $100 for one false alarm, then $250 for three or more false alarms in the same year. After eight, the user is charged another $250 and their registration is removed.

Those who don’t register their monitored alarm system will receive a $50 fee.

The registration requires annual renewal at no charge, and registrations are non-transferable. Those users who currently have alarm permits need to register for the new system at rentonwa.gov/falsealarm.

The police department has been sending two officers to every possible break-in. In 2016, it cost the Renton Police Department $357,235.79 to respond to alarm calls. On average, it costs the city $350,000 a year in unproductive staff time. False alarms in 2017 and 2018 were not tracked because there was no false alarm program.

“You’d rather have (officers) patrolling at night, having an active presence in the area, than being pulled to a building downtown three times a week because an alarm is going off,” Councilmember Armondo Pavone said in a previous interview. “This is not an attempt to generate revenue. This is an attempt to stop a small percent of users who cause this to take care of their systems.”

Another goal is to stop those users from alarm negligence. Pavone said that 20% of alarm users caused 80% of the false calls.

In a previous article, Renton Police Community Programs Coordinator Cyndie Parks said the previous alarm ordinance has been inoperable since 2016 because of outdated wording. The department began working with a private company to create a new alarm ordinance that would follow other cities’ false alarm ordinances, like Auburn and Bellevue.

The police department’s False Alarm Reduction Program is being managed by an outside company, CryWolf False Alarm Solutions.

“After a few years of research, it was recognized the city needed a more cost-effective option to offer the public, which lead us to partner with a private company to manage these efforts,” the Renton Police Department states on its website.

According to the police department, an appeal process will be available for users who feel fines or fees were unduly assessed.

The Renton Reporter previously covered the original wording of the ordinance, which was delayed, and the passing in December 2018.

Ways to avoid false alarms

• Do routine maintenance on the alarm system and sensors.

• Make sure those with authorization to enter the house or business have the proper codes.

• If the alarm is triggered, punch in the proper code to cancel the alarm. You will only be charged if police arrive at the destination and confirm is was a false alarm.

• Consider possible circumstances that could set off motion sensors in your home, such as pets or balloons, in order to avoid them.

More in News

File photo
$30 car tab proposal returns to ballot in November

Tim Eyman-led initiative would restrict car tabs and transportation benefit districts in Washington.

File photo
King County alcohol production ordinance could be approved by year’s end

Update to county code has been more than a year in the making.

Bring Fido and a can of food to support local animal shelters

“You Lucky Dog!” is more than an expression, it’s an event in… Continue reading

Renton Schools Foundation to host gala

To celebrate 10 years and welcome a new executive director, the Renton… Continue reading

Carol Ann Witschi
Witschi’s seat to stay vacant till election

Renton City Council has decided to leave councilmember Carol Ann Witschi’s seat… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Faith-Maria, a third grader at St. Anthony Elementary School in Renton, asked Make-a-Wish to share her wish with her school, which resulted in two new smart boards. Faith-Maria with her family at the unveiling, Sept. 12.
A selfless wish for Renton schools

Faith-Maria Nguyen uses Make-A-Wish to provide school a smart board

Photo by Haley Ausbun. RESP union members attended the Sept. 11 Renton School Board meeting to make their story heard as they continue to negotiate for a new contract with the district.
Union leader: ‘Give us what we deserve’

Update: Paraprofessionals and staff have reached a tentative agreement with the Renton School District

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Photo left to right: David Rodriguez, Tony Ventrella, Rachel Chronister, Marla Veliz, Reagan Dunn, and Gavin Hunt at the Sept. 10 ribbon cutting for the New Horizon School van, gifted by King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn through the retired van program.
County van to increase New Horizon’s inclusivity

A vehicle gifted to a school for students with learning disabilities will support outreach

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Tiffany Park Elementary School teachers and parents hold up signs before the Sept. 11 Renton School Board meeting, over the loss of a fourth grade classroom that reorganized the fourth and fifth graders at the school.
Teacher changes shake up parents’ confidence in Renton schools

A quick staffing change and classroom switch has parents questioning Renton School District

Most Read