False Alarms

Why are false alarms an issue?

The number of false alarms in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry consumes a significant quantity of police service resources. The registration of security alarm systems is an integral part of the strategy to reduce the number of false alarms in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.  The program promotes education and discipline of alarm users and alarm companies, and enhances officer safety. Alarm systems are designed to protect lives and property. Properly installed, used and maintained alarms are an asset. When misused, they become a liability.

Reacting to false alarms costs taxpayers thousands of dollars in police time and equipment.

  • A false alarm can endanger responding officers and the whole community as it may delay an officer from responding to a real emergency.
  • False alarms can lead neighbours to ignore your alarm when it goes off making your system less reliable and less credible.
  • False alarms make you reluctant to arm your system, exposing your home or business to undetected theft or damage.
  • False alarms can cost you fines, and in some instances, suspension of police response.

The number of Alarm Registrations has increased by 37.31% since the implementation of the Police Services Board False Alarm Program and there has been a 49.97% decrease in alarm calls, allowing more efficient use of police resources.


What can I do to reduce the number of false alarms?

  • Equipment should be routinely inspected and maintained.
  • Ensure all users have been trained on the proper use of the alarm systems operation.
  • Secure doors and windows before turning on the system.
  • Be aware of changes in the environment (i.e. new animals, design changes, seasonal decorations, plants, etc.)

What is a false alarm?

False alarm means an alarm dispatch request to the Police Service, when the responding officer finds no evidence of a criminal offence or attempted criminal offence after having completed a timely investigation of the alarm site. An alarm is considered false when it is activated unnecessarily, improperly or for a purpose other than that for which it was installed, including:

  • Mechanical failure
  • Unauthorized testing
  • Atmospheric conditions (i.e. weather)
  • Excessive vibrations
  • Power failure
  • And user error

Registration

No alarm user shall operate an alarm system at its alarm site without a valid registration issued by the Alarm Coordinator. A separate registration is required for each alarm site. There is a $36.00 registration fee for monitored and non-monitored residential and business alarm systems. Applicants aged 65 years or more at the time of registration are exempt from the registration fee.

An alarm user shall be subject to warnings, administrative fees and suspension of Police response depending on the number of false alarms emitted from an alarm system within each one (1) year period from the date of registration or renewal based upon the following schedule:

Fees for False Alarms

# of False Alarms Fee
1 $0
2 $25
3 $50

A fourth false alarm will result in a fee of $100.00 plus suspension of Police response for a one (1) year period.

In addition, an alarm user whose alarm system causes a request for police response to a false alarm to a non-registered alarm site (whether suspended or never acquired) will be subject to an administrative fee of $200.00, in addition to any other administrative fees.


Suspension of Police Response

  • The alarm user has four (4) or more false alarms in a one (1) year period; or,
  • There is a false statement of material fact in the application for registration; or,
  • The alarm user has failed to make timely payment of a fee assessed pursuant to the provisions of the Security Alarm By-law.

The Police will respond if there is separate indication that there is a crime in progress.


Notification

The Alarm Coordinator will notify the alarm user in writing after the first, second and third false alarm incidents within a one (1) year period.

The Alarm Coordinator will notify the alarm user and the Alarm Company in writing after the fourth false alarm that alarm response has been suspended.


Appeal Process

An alarm user may appeal the assessment of an administrative fee, suspension or request reinstatement to the Alarm Coordinator. An appeal fee of $25.00 will accompany the appeal by the alarm user. Appeal fees will be returned to the alarm user if the appeal is upheld.

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