False Alarm Fines Increased in Barrie, On., Canada

The updated policy intends to place the onus on alarm owners to ensure systems operate efficiently.

BARRIE, Ontario, Canada – False alarm fines here became costlier beginning in the New Year. The fee for a false alarm is $180 and $120 for a cancelled alarm, with homeowners allowed one warning, but not businesses.

Under the previous policy, both business and residential property owners were given a warning notice, then fees of $100, $200 and $300 were charged, followed by a suspension of immediate police response, reports thebarrieexaminer.com.

“The [police] service’s previous policy was written many years ago and amended throughout the years,” Const. Nicole Rodgers told the newspaper. “However, with the natural growth of our city as well as more businesses and residents using alarm systems, our volume of calls we respond to have increased substantially.”

Typically city police send two cars to a security alarm, and the majority of false alarms come from businesses. User error, faulty equipment and pets are the most common causes of false alarms, according to police.

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Due to the escalating number of false alarms city police were responding to, a false alarm policy was last updated in 2013, following revisions in 2010 and in 1997. The updated policy intends to place the onus on the alarm owner to ensure systems operate efficiently.

The new policy also provides better service, despite its lack of forgiveness to false alarms, Rodgers said.

“We wanted to ensure we were able respond to repeat alarm calls in the case there was entry, where the last policy would have repeat false alarm locations suspended, often meaning police did not attend or would arrive long after an incident if one had occurred,” she said.

For both false and cancelled alarms, an invoice will be issued and is to be paid in full within 30 days. Outstanding fees are subject to finance charges, or interest, and can be added to property taxes or even sent to a collection agency.

The first false or cancelled alarms for residential property owners will be forgiven, but a letter cautioning future false alarms will be sent. The new fees will commence following the warning notice.

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