Toronto police to respond to fewer home alarms

Study discovered that 97 per cent of reported alarms were false


Published:

Toronto Police Service (TPS) has implemented what it calls a “verified response” procedure when dealing with burglar alarm activations which essentially means officers will be responding to fewer alarms across the city.  

A 2016 study by TPS, in consultation with the Canadian Security Association, showed that 97 per cent of alarm activations reported were false. Given this information, TPS has decided to move forward with a plan that will minimize wasting resources on these types of calls. 

“For burglar alarms, the requirements now are that the monitoring station must have one of four criteria before they can contact police,” said Sandra Buckler, the person in charge of strategy management for the Toronto Police Service. 

“If there is no audio, video, multiple zones or eyewitness information ... that will require police to attend, then we wouldn't go.”

The four criteria include video surveillance, eye-witness accounts, audio recordings and multiple-zone activations, which ensure that TPS will have actual evidence of criminal activity before dispatching officers to the scene. The methods used to collect this evidence depend on the type of security devices being used. 

“If there is no audio, video, multiple zones or eyewitness information or any further information or evidence that will require police to attend, then we wouldn't go,” said Buckler. 

In the case of panic alarms, meaning a direct activation by a person of the alarm system, police will be dispatched immediately to the scene. 

“We are committed to public safety and ensuring that we reduce the amount of false calls we go to,” said Buckler. “This will improve our service to those calls that are valid in nature.”

As of Sept. 10, these changes have taken effect and are now used by TPS. 

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