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11.12.21 – Center Square

Arizona TV personality Kristen Keogh discovered a little-known fee for her home the hard way. 

Keogh, a 12News contributor, tweeted Wednesday she had police respond to her residence after her home security system went off, triggering a fine from the city of Phoenix. 

“I was today years old when I found out you need a permit with the city to have an alarm system in your home,” she said on Twitter.

Like Phoenix, many cities in Arizona require annual fees to operate a home security system as a way to pay the cost of police and fire response to false alarms.

With thousands of new homeowners in Arizona, Keogh is likely not the first to be surprised with a fine after a police or fire response. 

“Each year false alarms cost all of us millions of dollars and thousands of wasted man hours,” the city of Phoenix said in a release from 2020. “The Phoenix Police and Fire Departments as well as the security companies, must spend a significant amount of time and money responding to false alarms.” 

When contacted Friday, a representative with the Phoenix Police Department’s Public Records and Services Unit confirmed nonmonitored systems such as common doorbell cameras also are subject to the annual fee. She said it’s common for police to respond to a homeowner or neighbor’s call about an alarm going off, only for it to be a false alarm triggered by a nonmonitored system. 

The annual registration varies in cities throughout Arizona. The cost is $17 annually in Phoenix. Scottsdale charges $10 a year. Tucson’s certificate costs $20 each year. The situation is similar in other states, with some adopting a policy where police will not respond to an unregistered burglary alarm. 

It’s the responsibility of the homeowner to keep up with the registration, which gives police and fire departments the contact information of the residence owner. 

If Phoenix police are called to respond to a false burglary alarm, the homeowner is subject to a $96 fine, similar to what other cities impose. Ignoring the fine could land the resident in jail, as it’s a Class 1 misdemeanor. 

Cole Lauterbach

Cole Lauterbach

Regional Editor

Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, and Nevada. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.