Alarm Information for Home Owners
Tips for Reducing False Alarms
- Ensure everyone using your alarm system is aware of the system’s operations.
- Secure doors and windows before turning on the alarm system.
- Be aware of changes in your environment (i.e. seasonal decorations, plants, design changes etc.).
- Replace batteries in panic buttons and wireless sensors at least once a year and the larger battery in the control panel every three to five years.
- Have the alarm system routinely inspected and maintained by qualified personnel.
- Ensure your alarm company has a complete and updated list of keyholders.
- Ensure that everyone is out of your premise before setting the alarm.
- Check all door and window contacts and ensure they are tight and secure.
- Dust around motion sensors on a regular basis. Spiders like to live inside motion detectors.
- Notify your alarm company if you obtain any pets.
- Cancel false alarms through your alarm company prior to police arrival.
- Ensure that telephone repair people, electricians and other service personnel are aware, and careful, of your system.
- Test your alarm system connection with the central station once per month.
- Contact your alarm company prior to testing your system.
About the Alarms Program
As a result of concerns regarding the escalating number of false alarms responded to by York Regional Police, a False Alarm policy was instituted in 1990.
On August 28, 1996, the Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board By-law No. 11-96, was enacted and passed. This By-law included a registration and suspension policy and was to come into force on January 1, 1997.
Due to the implementation of this By-law the number of false alarms attended by York Regional Police officers dropped from 30,768 in 1996 to 21,286.
On March 25, 1998, the Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board By-law No. 4-98, amending By-law 11-96, was enacted and passed. This By-law allowed for a reduction of the registration fee for second and subsequent years the premises were registered.
In 1999, the number of false alarms being attended by York Regional Police officers once again began to rise. Furtherance to the program in place, it was recognized that it was crucial to reduce the number of hours wasted on attending these false alarm.
On November 22, 2000, The Regional Municipality of York Police Services By-law No. 14-00, which was to repeal and replace the existing By-law, was enacted and passed. This By-law allowed for a tiered registration program resulting in suspension fines for abusers and was to come into force on July 1, 2001.
The inception of the False Alarm Reduction Program began with this By-law amendment. Although the number of requests to attend false alarms increased from 22,688 in 2001, to 24,693 in 2002, the number of alarm calls that were cancelled prior to police dispatch or arrival was increased from 6,951 in 2001, to 9,085 in 2002. This resulted in the number of hours spent on attending alarms being reduced from 6,924 in 2001, to 5,950 in 2002. This reduction in man hours can be directly related to the implementation of By-law, 14-00.
HIGHLIGHTS OF AMENDMENTS TO ALARM PROGRAM BY-LAW 14-00
On November 17th, 2005 the Council of The Regional Municipality of York supported and passed amendments to the Alarm Program By-law as recommended by the Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board. The By-law is now referred to as; The Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board By-law # 10-05. These amendments will take effect October 16th, 2006. Amendments:
The registration category, "Registered Alarm Premise - No Fee" has been eliminated. Premises in this category will be required to register as a "Priority Premise" or the premise will be downgraded to an "Unregistered Premise" after October 16th, 2006.
The reinstatement fee of $150.00 has been eliminated and a set fee of $250.00 will be charged for reinstatement of service after a suspension has been applied to a premise that has experienced a number of false alarms. (Unregistered Category: suspension after one false alarm, Priority Category: suspension after three false alarms).
The Alarm Industry with be required to use a Toll Phone Line to report an activated alarm. A fee of $2.50 per call will be charged to the Service Provider. Calls to cancel an alarm or update relevant information can be made on the non-emergency lines at no charge. Registration can only be accomplished through your Alarm Service Provider.
HIGHLIGHTS OF AMENDMENTS TO ALARM PROGRAM BY-LAW 09-09
The following amendments have been made to the Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board By-law 09-09 governing the York Regional Police Alarm Program.
- Registration Fees - As of July 1, 2010, the fee to register in the York Regional Police Alarm Program will be as follows:
$40.00 per year + OHST for a Residential premise
$75.00 per year + OHST for a Commercial premise
Second year rates have been eliminated.
Registrations will continue to be invoiced on a monthly basis at 1/12 of the yearly fee.
- Alarm Subscriber Notification - Alarm Businesses shall be responsible for communicating to their Alarm Subscribers the option of obtaining Priority Alarm Premise status.
In addition the following amendments have been made to the Policies and Procedures governing the York Regional Police Alarm Program.
- Interest Charges – Interest at the rate of one and one-quarter percent per month, which is an annual rate of fifteen percent, shall be payable on all accounts that remain unpaid for thirty days after the invoice date.
- Collection of Accounts – Collection of overdue accounts will be made in accordance with the Policies and Procedures of the Regional Municipality of York.
Please note that it is the responsibility of the alarm industry to communicate any and all amendments made to the by-law governing the York Regional Police Alarm Program to their alarm subscribers.
Appeals and Reinstatements
Appeals are only accepted on priority accounts. Appeals must be submitted in writing from the alarm company or monitoring station on behalf of their customer. If an appeal is granted, the false alarm count is reduced by one. The results of an appeal are faxed to the monitoring station and it is their responsibility to notify the end user of the outcome. It should be noted that only one appeal is accepted in a 365 day period.
If an appeal on a suspension is not possible, a reinstatement fee may be paid.
A fee of $250.00 may be paid to reduce the false alarm count to zero (0) thereby eliminating the suspension condition.