If your Evanston home is protected by an alarm system, you are required to register it with the city and pay an annual alarm fee of $30 each year by Jan. 31.

The registration form provides valuable information for fire and police in the event that your alarm is activated.

Failure to register an alarm system may result in a $250 fine for the first violation, while subsequent violations may result in a $500 fine.

For those registering their system for the first time, the fee is $100 and then $30 per year thereafter.

Occasionally, your system may send out a false alarm, requiring police or fire units to respond.  The city’s False Alarm Ordinance (117-0-11) will forgive the first three false alarms during a calendar year, but after that, it assesses a fine of $110 each for the next six false alarms, and the fine keeps escalating to $550 for subsequent calls.

The city says the intent of the ordinance is to provide an incentive for residents to maintain their systems so as to minimize false activations.

Additional information is available on the city’s website.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Paying for your own safety

    Unbelievable! The City of Evanston cannot protect residents but, they charge an additional fee to those who want to look out for their own safety. Only in Evanston, the most taxing suburb in the North Shore.

  2. Not all that alarming

    I have worked for small businesses in many suburbs and an alarm permit and fee is pretty standard stuff.

  3. Alarm fees in Chicago?

    A friend has adult children in Chicago in the type of building described. They do not pay for the first one or two false alarmns.
    I'd been told residents in Evanston [and more so NU] were charged by the police/fire over a given number of [false only?] alarms or calls. A couple of years ago I asked the man operating the call desk in one of our fire stations and he said they have a hard time collecting.

    Of course the city can create as many ordinances as they want—better yet if people don't know about them so the fines can mount.

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