Sparwood considers false alarm bylaw

The Elk Valley RCMP is asking the District of Sparwood to consider implementing a false alarm bylaw.

The Elk Valley RCMP is asking the District of Sparwood to consider implementing a bylaw that would fine residents of the community for an excessive amount of false alarm calls.

Since 2010, false alarm calls in the area have increased by 53 per cent, and Constable Chris Mahoney said that many of them have been repeat visits to the same home or business. Just two months into 2013, the Elk Valley RCMP have responded to 13 false alarm calls.

“I’ve only been in the Elk Valley area for the last six months, but I have noticed that false alarm calls are a significant problem within Sparwood,” said Mahoney. “It is a problem and it’s not just commercial, it is residential addresses as well.”

Mahoney went on to explain that the District of Elkford already has a false alarm bylaw in place. The first two false alarm calls in a calendar year are free, while the third comes with a $150 fine, and a fourth would result in a $300 fine.

Mayor and council agreed that it would be worthwhile to look into a bylaw to ensure that time spent by RCMP answering false alarms wasn’t taking away from necessary community policing.

“For me, it was a real eye-opener to see that it’s 130 hours spent on answering false alarms,” commented Councillor Sharon Fraser. “The last time you guys were here to speak there was a downturn in the number of members available for work, so to me, it makes good sense to do something about it.”

District staff will prepare a report outlining a possible bylaw and bring it back to council at a future meeting.