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Mounties limit alarm response

New policy requires two hits before officers are dispatched
by Lisa Brown

 COUNTY - The RCMP have changed the way they answer business and home security alarms.

 Mounties now respond only to alarms which register hits in multiple zones, meaning the alarm must indicate movement at more than one location.

 If the alarm registers only one contact, for example at a door, police will not respond unless the property owner or a representative first attends and verifies that a break and enter has occurred.

 Multiple zone contacts suggest an intruder is inside and moving around the property.

 The idea, Mounties say, is to reduce the number of false alarms and the police time they waste.

 "It creates such a strain on our resources," Cst. Rob James says.

 In Lunenburg County, Mounties say the cost associated with responding to false alarms is the equivalent of one constable's salary.

 "It's pretty rare that any alarm we go to is ever genuine. They're few and far between," Cst. James says.

 Most alarms result from a door blowing open or movement - a bird flying by, a pet strolling about or curtains blowing in the breeze - setting off a motion detector.

 "We were just spending such an inordinate amount of time going to nothing," Cst. James says.

 There are some exceptions to the policy, which is now in place across the province in areas covered by the RCMP.

 The exemptions include glass breaks, holdup alarms and panic alarms.



posted on 07/19/11
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