Second phase of changes to City of Calgary Alarm Services Bylaw 31M95
On November 30, 2016, The City of Calgary and the Calgary Police Service will be moving forward with the second phase of alarm service changes by introducing proposed amendments to the Alarm Services Bylaw 31M95 at the Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services.
Earlier this year, The City of Calgary and Calgary Police Service announced a phased-in approach to reduce the number of false alarm calls and improve police service. This approach includes changes to alarm permitting, amending the Alarm Services Bylaw, and changing how and when officers respond to calls.
Annual alarm permits
Effective January 1, 2017, residences and businesses will require a valid, paid alarm permit in order for police to respond to alarm calls. Citizens and businesses can obtain a permit by following the application process online at calgarypolice.ca. Annual permitting fees will be $15 for residences and $20 for commercial locations.
The information collected each year through the permitting process will ensure permit holder information is accurate and up to date. Having accurate information will allow police to respond to alarm calls more efficiently.
Changes to Bylaw 31M95 – proposed amendments to false alarm penalty structure
To reduce the number of false alarms, City Administration and CPS are recommending changes to the Alarm Services Bylaw to introduce an escalating scale of false alarm penalties. These amendments, if passed by Council, are expected to increase the accountability of permit holders and alarm agencies to properly manage their alarm systems.
Approximately 75 per cent of alarmed locations experience only one false alarm each year. The proposed bylaw amendment recommends an escalating scale with the first false alarm free. Currently, the false alarm penalty is $75 for each false alarm. This new model is aligned with other major cities across Canada and North America, and CPS expects this to be an effective tool at reducing false alarms and better allocating police resources.
The proposed bylaw amendments have been endorsed by the Calgary Police Commission. These changes will be discussed on November 30, 2016 at the Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services with the intent to go to Council on December 19, 2016. If approved, the new false alarm penalty structure is anticipated to roll out in the first quarter of 2017. The penalty has not been amended since 1999; the bylaw was enacted in 1995.
CPS response to alarm activations
During the first phase of the alarm service changes, alterations were made to how and when officers respond to calls. Since May 15, 2016, when these changes came into effect, there has already been a 54 per cent reduction in the number of dispatched alarm calls, compared to the same timeframe in 2015, allowing police to respond more efficiently to other priority calls.
We anticipate further changes to CPS response in 2017 as we continue with this phased-in approach.
It is important for Calgarians to know that police will continue to respond to residential, commercial and financial panic, hold up and duress alarm calls, confirmed criminal activity, public safety concerns, and verified alarm activations.
CPS will attend locations where two or more zones have been activated. Alarm agencies must also attempt to contact two key holders prior to contacting police.
Through this phased-in approach, we anticipate an improvement in call response times by focusing on valid alarm activations and priority calls, with no increased risk to the public. For more information, visit calgarypolice.ca.
- For questions and comments on permitting, penalty fees, and CPS response to alarm activations, please contact the Calgary Police Service Media Line at 403-428-7979.
- For questions and comments on the Standing Policy Committee and City Council procedures, as well as the changes to the Alarm Services Bylaw (31M95), please submit a request online with The City of Calgary.