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False Alarms
Frequently asked questions about FALSE ALARMS

Does the Town of Provincetown require you to register your alarm system and address with the police department?

No. If you purchase an alarm system, there is no requirement that you notify the police department of that purchase. Your alarm company will notify you of what they expect you to do, but in most cases the Provincetown Police Department finds out that a specific address has an alarm system when the first call from the alarm company comes in.

What happens if my alarm goes off?

Depending on the arrangement you have with your alarm company, they may call your house first or they may call the police department first. Once an alarm call is received at the Provincetown Police Station, it is the policy of the department to send 2 officers to the address and to treat that call as an emergency. Once on scene, the officers will check the exterior of the property for signs of anything unusual. If there is an unsecured door or window, the officers will make entry into the house to ensure that no crime has occurred and attempt to secure the building.

What if someone has broken into the house?

The police will then treat the area as a crime scene and follow department protocols for the investigation of a break. The police department will also attempt to get in touch with the homeowner or authorized key-holder or caretaker as soon as possible.

What if I am home and my alarm goes off?

Usually you will receive a call from your alarm company asking you for the “code” word or phrase that tells them that you are allowed to be on the property that is alarmed. If they have already contacted the police department and they then get a proper pass code from you they typically call the police department back to inform us that a proper code has been received. Once that happens, the alarm is then treated as non-emergency alarm verification and only one police car is sent to the location to ensure that everything is in-fact ok.

Is there a fee for false alarms in Provincetown? 

11-8-6. Fines. The owner or person in charge of a building or structure who fails to comply with this bylaw shall be provided with written notice of non-compliance from the Police Department or Fire Department. Any owner or person in charge of a building or structure who fails to comply with this bylaw within 10 business days of written notice of non-compliance shall be punished by a fine prescribed in the following manner under M.G.L. c. 40, §21D. Within in each calendar year, a non-criminal disposition penalty of a warning for the first offense, a fine of $150 dollars for the second offense and a fine of $300 for the third offense and each offense thereafter shall be imposed for false alarm violations under §11-8-5.

11-8-5. False alarms. The activation of an alarm by error or malfunction shall constitute a
violation of this bylaw.

Is there a limit as to how much I can be billed?

No. There is not maximum amount that can be billed. Alarms that are verified are not billed. Alarm billing is specific to the day. You will not be billed for more than one alarm in a day. This allows for people who are clearly having a problem with their alarm to not be billed a large amount of money for a one time problem. However, if an alarm comes in 7 days in a row, there will be a bill generated from the third day on.

Who do I pay for false alarms?

You will receive a non-criminal by-law citation from the Town of Provincetown for any alarms that are billed. You may write a check and either pay it in person or by mail to the Town Clerk’s Office at Town Hall. Questions about your alarm bills should be directed to the enforcement person listed on the citation. They can be reached at the Provincetown Police Department at (508) 487-1212.


Town of Provincetown
260 Commercial Street
Provincetown, MA 02657
Ph: (508) 487-7000
Fx: (508) 487-9560