A new city bylaw could soon lead to stiffer penalties for false alarm calls to the Moose Jaw Police Service and higher registration fees for alarm systems.
Currently, those with an alarm system are asked to pay a $15 annual fee to register their alarm with the police. If the bylaw passes its readings, this fee would be raised to $25.
“If there are more than two (false alarms), then I suspend the permit, and when the permit is suspended, the alarm company has to call through on a 1-900 line, which is a fee-for-service line, which charges $75 for the call,” said police spokesperson Keri Taschuk.
The proposed Alarm Response Bylaw, 2021, would see the $75 charge from the 1-900 line go up to $100. Any alarms not registered with the city would automatically have to call the 1-900 number for service.
Tascuk said the rise in fees would have a huge financial impact.
“Just with the number of permits that we have with going up to $25 versus $15, just on the renewals each year, we will be bringing in another $20,000,” she said.
Statistics provided to the city from the Moose Jaw Police Service showed that the police responded to 236 false alarm calls in 2020 and 925 in the past three years.
Of those false alarm calls in 2020, 101 would have needed to call the 1-900 number and would have been charged a fee.
Mayor Fraser Tolmie, who is also the chair of the Moose Jaw Police Board of Commissioners, explained why the fees needed to be raised.
“The whole point of it is to cover the overhead costs and administrative costs associated with this bylaw. You have to think about the 911 calls and how that actually takes away our police service from other duties, and so there's a cost associated with this,” he said.