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Calgary home alarm bylaw changed after data shows 96% are false alarms

Police change response to Calgary alarm systems
WATCH ABOVE: Starting Sunday, it will take more to get officers to your door if an alarm is tripped. As Tracy Nagai reports, the changes have caught some security companies off guard.

There are big changes coming for Calgary residents with alarm systems in their homes as of Sunday.

The Calgary Police Service is revising the alarm system bylaw because officers are being called to too many false alarms.

Starting May 15, officers will not be dispatched for alarm calls when only one alarm zone has been tripped. Alarm services will also be required to contact two key holders before units are dispatched to an address.

READ MORE: Calgary Police Service calls attention to home security hackers

Calgary Police Service alarm coordinator Alison Turgeon said on average, police are sent to 45 alarm calls per day and 96 per cent of those end up being false.

“Public safety is the top priority for the Calgary Police Service. And this is one entity where we feel that we are going to be making some significant changes to better our response to members of the general public.”

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However, some security companies say they weren’t given enough time to adapt their security systems to the changes and will now look at hiring private security guards to attend to calls where only one alarm has been tripped.

“Even if all your windows are contacted, if someone comes in a window without opening it they might trip a glass break detector. But that’s still only one zone and that’s all that’s going to go,” said Randy Larkam, president of AE Security.

Larkam said he would have liked to have at least three months to prepare for the changes as opposed to a few weeks.

“We used to have some input into what was happening and possibly have some time to adapt to it. This came as a real surprise.”

The cost of the security upgrades will also likely get passed on to the consumer and it could be a significant hike depending on the security system.

These aren’t the only changes in the works. Later on this year more revisions will be phased in. Police will begin charging a fee for alarm system permits and police will no longer investigate if a permit is suspended, non-existent or it’s within two weeks of installation. Officers also won’t answer alarm calls at businesses during business hours.

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Anyone with questions or concerns about the revised alarm bylaw can call (403) 428-8336.