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The Saint John Police Force headquarters, located at One Peel Plaza. Image: Staff photo

New policy leads to fewer false alarm calls: police

By Brad Perry Feb 13, 2024 | 1:37 PM

Saint John police say a crackdown on false burglar alarms at commercial businesses is working.

On Tuesday, police reported a roughly 11 per cent drop in false alarm calls since Nov. 22.

That is when a new policy aimed at reducing the number of false alarms at businesses came into effect.

“False alarms can divert our officers away from true emergencies and place unnecessary burden on our resources,” police said in a news release.

Under the new policy, which takes effect Nov. 1, businesses will be issued a “Special Caution Notice” after two false alarms in the same calendar year.

After four false alarms in the same calendar year, the business will be given a “Suspension Notice” for one year.

The business will be invoiced $100 for any false alarms during the suspension period. After issuing three past-due false alarm invoices, police will stop responding to burglar alarms.

Businesses issued a suspension notice will be reviewed for reinstatement after one calendar year. Police will consider the number of post-suspension false alarms and any info submitted by the alarm company as to the steps taken to resolve false alarm causes.

“The Saint John Police urges businesses to immediately address faulty equipment that may cause frequent false alarms and ensure their contact information is up-to-date with their alarm company,” said the police force.

Despite the reduction in commercial false alarms, officers still responded to over 700 in 2023 or around 59 per month.

Police have now updated the policy to include a condition that officers will no longer respond to commercial alarms unless the keyholder will be attending to meet with police.

The policy does not apply to a hold-up or panic alarm, or if the location is a hospital, school, financial institution, or residence.