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5.23.23 – baytoday.ca – North Bay

‘Going forward, the North Bay Police Service will only respond to intrusion alarms after the property owner or business has been able to verify that the alarm requires a police response’

Effective June 1, officers will only respond to verified intrusion alarms, meaning the property owner or business must first verify that the alarm requires a police response.

North Bay police are changing the way they respond to burglar alarms.

Effective June 1,  officers will only respond to verified intrusion alarms, meaning the property owner or business must first verify that the alarm requires a police response.

“Confirmation can be accomplished by the private alarm company or property owner receiving visual or audio confirmation from security cameras on-site or by an in-person check by contracted private security personnel,” says a news release. 

The release says a number of police services across the province are moving toward this model of response in an effort to find more efficient ways of deploying police resources.

In 2022 the North Bay Police Service responded to 987 intrusion alarms. Of those, only 25 actually required a police response. Four of those responses resulted in criminal charges for crimes including break and enter and mischief. Most false alarms were the result of a technical malfunction of the alarm system or an employee or resident entering the incorrect alarm code.

“Many alarms were cancelled while the police were en route to the location,” says the release.

Currently, police respond to all intrusion alarms unless the property owner confirms it is a false alarm or cancels the police response prior to officers arriving.

“The police response to an intrusion alarm requires a significant investment of time and resources,” adds the release. “Intrusion alarms require a minimum of a two-officer response, requiring officers to leave their designated patrol zones for a period of time while responding to the alarm. In most instances, responding officers do not have immediate access to the building and must wait for a key holder to grant access.”

Currently, police invoice property owners or businesses after they have responded to two false alarms at the same property.

Effective June 1, if officers respond to one verified alarm that is determined to be a false alarm, response to any further alarms at the property will be suspended until the reinstatement fee is paid. The reinstatement fee will increase to $250.

“This fee is designed to recover some of the costs associated with responding to false alarms. In 2022, invoice payments accounted for less than three per cent of the total personnel cost incurred when responding to false alarms,” explains the release.

“This change in policy will ensure that our time and resources are deployed in the most effective manner to keep our community safe,” said Jeff Warner, Inspector of Operations. “We are adopting the best practices of an increasing number of Ontario police services by sending our officers to alarms that have been verified as requiring a police response. This will help keep our officers out patrolling the streets of North Bay, responding to legitimate calls for service and targeting problem areas in the city with an intelligence-led policing model and strategic deployment of our resources.”