False Alarms Reduction

In 2013 Delta Police Department emergency call takers and dispatchers dealt with 1,978 false alarm calls and dispatched police officers to those calls.  A dispatcher dealing with such a call is not as immediately available to answer other emergency calls, and a police officer attending a false alarm is not as readily available to attend other calls, focus on proactive community policing or is pulled away from doing follow-up work on previously attended incidents.  False alarm calls are a large drain on police resources and may impact public safety. 

A false alarm means an alarm activation where there was no apparent or actual evidence that an unauthorized entry or unlawful act occurred, respecting a building, structure or premise, and includes, but is not limited to:

  • the activation of a security alarm system during its testing;
  • a security alarm system activated by mechanical failure, malfunction, or faulty equipment;
  • a security alarm system activated by user error;
  • a security alarm system actually or apparently activated by atmospheric conditions, excessive vibrations or power failure; or
  • an alarm incident during which the police department is notified that it is not necessary to respond after one or more police officers have already been dispatched to the property.

The Corporation of Delta wants to encourage home and business alarm permit holders to set up and use their alarms in a manner that does not generate unnecessary false alarms, resulting in an inefficient use of police resources.  To assist, the Corporation of Delta has a bylaw (Delta Security Alarm Systems Regulation Bylaw 5827-2000) that imposes a fee when an alarm permit holder registers an unreasonable number of false alarms in a calendar year.

False AlarmExcessive False Alarm Fee
Third$50
Fourth$100
Fifth$150
Sixth and over$300

False alarms have been decreasing somewhat.  In 2012 police officers responded to 1,993 false alarms.  This was fairly consistent with 2011, when 1,997 false alarms were responded to, but both years were a substantial reduction from 2010 when 2,283 false alarms were registered.  The goal of the false alarm reduction initiative is to further reduce false alarms and the associated allocation of police resources, through continued careful attention to the causes of false alarms by the alarm industry and alarm permit holders.  This will assist in ensuring police resources can be deployed as effectively as possible.