False Security Alarms Prompt Changes

December 2018

Toronto Police no longer respond to burglar alarms without a confirmation of threat to personal safety or criminal activity. This change is in response to an increase in false security alarms.

An internal review found 97 percent of home security system activations during 2016 were false alarms. Police responding to these false alarms were unavailable for other police work including real emergencies. The Canadian Alarm and Security Association reports the vast majority of false alarms, about 75 percent, are caused by the user.

Prior to this change, a false alarm would be responded to by two armed police officers when requested to do so by the security company in response to a resident request. Police now require verification of their need to respond. This can occur if the resident calls 911 directly. Verification may also come from a multiple zone activation, eyewitness, audio or video device. Panic alarms are exempt from these rules.

This change is part of The Way Forward; the Toronto Police Service’s modernization plan intended to make better use of police resources and having police offers where they are needed.

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