False Alarm Reduction Program
Residence and businesses that own or operate a security alarm system need a valid alarm permit. Permits are available through the Vancouver Police Department.
The goal of the False Alarm Reduction Program (FARP) is to reduce response and police resources created by false alarms through cooperation with the alarm industry and the public.
What is a False Alarm?
Under City of Vancouver Security Alarm System Bylaw #7111 (PDF), a "false alarm" is defined as:
"an alarm incident where there is no evidence that an unauthorized entry or unlawful act has been attempted or made into, on or respecting a building, structure or premises and includes, but is not limited to:
- the activation of a security alarm system during its testing;
- a security alarm system activated by mechanical failure, malfunction, or faulty equipment;
- a security alarm system activated by atmospheric conditions, vibrations, or power failure;
- a security alarm system activated by user error."
A "false dispatch" is defined as "notification of an alarm incident to the law enforcement agency and there is no evidence of a criminal offence or attempted criminal offence."
Annual Alarm Registration Requirements & Fees
Fee per year
Small business or commercial
(less than 140 m² (1,507 ft²) of floor area protected by an alarm system)
Large business or commercial
(140 m² (1,507 ft²) or greater of floor area protected by an alarm system)
Apply for an alarm permit (PDF) for your home or business.
Renew your alarm permit for your home or business online. You will need your permit and account numbers from the Permit Renewal Notice mailed to you to renew your permit online.
Alarm permits are not transferrable. If the permit holder moves or the business is sold to a new owner, a new permit must be obtained.
It is recommended that tenants be responsible for obtaining the alarm permit as they will be operating the alarm system. Exceptions to this will be considered if the landlord indicates in writing to FARP that they will accept full responsibility for any false alarms at the rental property.
Alarm permits must be renewed annually. Permit holders will be reminded to renew prior to expiry.
False Alarm Permit Suspension
Three or more false alarms within a 12-month period are considered excessive and will result in your permit being suspended. Vancouver Police will not attend premises without a valid operating permit and, by law, alarm companies are not permitted to provide any service to that location.
Offences against this bylaw may result in fines. You must have your alarm system inspected and return the provided form to help determine the cause of the false alarms, as well as to ensure that the system is functioning correctly.
You may restore your permit and clear your record by paying a reinstatement fee or appeal the suspension of your permit with the Police Board. Filing an appeal will temporarily suspend your suspension until the Appeal Panel of the Police Board meets and you will receive their final decision in wiriting.
- residential $75
- small commercial $125
- large commercial $250
These fees are doubled on the second and subsequent cancellations of your permit. Payments can be made by cash or cheque payable to the City of Vancouver in person or by mail.
A. The purpose of a warning letter is:
- to advise you that you have had two false alarms within a 12-month period and that a third false alarm within a 12-month period will result in your permit being suspended
- to give you an opportunity to solve the false alarm situation on your property and avoid a permit suspension
You are not required to respond to a warning letter. However, you are highly encouraged to take the following steps:
- write a letter to your alarm company and ensure that your keyholder reference list is up to date and entered on their database
- have your system inspected once a year - worn out batteries and loose and/or weathered contact switches are two common problems that cause system failure
Why a False Alarm Reduction Program?
With the growth in use of security alarm systems in homes and businesses, many police departments are faced with the challenge of attending to false alarm incidents. Programs such as this aim to reduce the number of false alarm calls police are being dispatched to, and to reduce the financial costs associated with attending false alarms.
With the registration of all security alarm systems in the City of Vancouver, the VPD is able to identify systems / users that generate excessive false alarms (three or more in a 12-month period).