Essex wants security alarms registered to reduce false alarm calls

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The Town of Essex wants all security alarm systems registered to help reduce the number times police need to respond to a false alarm.

Robert Auger, Clerk for the Town of Essex, says the police services board started to examine the issue after noticing a pattern of "a consistent and significant number" of false alarm dispatch calls in the monthly reports provided to the board by Ontario Provincial Police.

"It was Aug. 2020 to Aug. 2021 that our detechment of the OPP responded to 215 calls, which works out to around 17 calls a month. As a small municipality, we saw that as being a significant number," he says.

A by-law is in place that would result in a $180 penalty fee for the owner if police respond to a false alarm.

Auger says the fine is equal to the estimated average service cost of having an OPP officer in Essex respond to a security alarm call.

He says they're hoping the registration along with the potential penalty will provide a natural decline in false alarms.

"At the end of the day, we're talking about valuable police resources and we'd like, hopefully, to spend those police resources elsewhere," says Auger.

All registered owners will not be charged for the first two false alarm responses from the OPP within the calendar year. Non-registered premises are subject to a $180 penalty fee for all false alarms beginning January 2022.

Auger says a false alarm can be caused by anything from a test without prior police knowledge, carelessness, a mechinal failure or even improper installation.

"Information that we came across indicated that the majority of false alarms will come from employees who haven't been properly trained or have simply have triggered the alarm by accident," he adds.

To register your residential or commercial security alarm system, complete the online form at, call 519-776-7336 ext.0, or visit Essex Town Hall at 33 Talbot St S.