We’ve all heard the catchy little saying about police response times:
But what are the facts when it comes to how fast police will respond to a call where there’s a violent crime involved?
The US Department of Justice found that, in 1989, there were 168,881 crimes of violence for which police had not responded within 1 hour. #…
— Firearms (@realFirearms) March 4, 2016
As of 2013, the reported national average for police response time was 11 minutes.
According to the latest Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) data (2008), police response times when violent crimes were called in ranged from under 5 minutes to longer than one day:
Not many cities ‘advertise’ their response times. Of those that have numbers that have gone public, the most recent data shows that emergency calls dispatched through 911 are not generating the quick response times the public would like:
A 2014 report shows that average response times for Denver from 2008 through 2013 increased. “Priority 0-2 calls, response times increased from an average of 11.4 minutes to 14.3 minutes. For Priority 3-6 calls, response times increased from an average of 20.5 minutes to 23.3 minutes.”
However, they may know why response times got worse:
Our data analysis confirms that the majority of the increase in Denver’s police response times can be explained by the decreasing size of the City’s police force, which shrank by approximately 225 officers between 2008 through 2013.
New York City
Data from 2012 shows the average response time is 9.1 minutes. That’s the longest response time since 2003, and the wait time has been increasing every year.
Violent crime is on the rise, as is the response time. As of Augut 2015, average response time sits at more than 8 minutes. Ron Pinkston, president of the Dallas Police Association, blamed officers’ fears for the delays:
“The motivation is a little lacking,” he said. “I think it’s just the fear of doing the right thing and that they are going to get disciplined for doing that.”
Pinkston said officers are too often being reprimanded for the way they drive during high speed chases or for the difficult decisions they have to make when using deadly force.
“The only way we are going to get this response time to turn around is get a different management style or get a different manager,” Pinkston said.
2010 data showed that it took almost 14 minutes on average for officers to respond to priority one emergency calls, such as shootings and armed robberies in progress.
Individual cities may measure response time differently because there is no national ‘standard’ for measuring them. This can cause a great disparity in numbers. Detroit is one example of this.
The issue came to light following a 2013 report that the city had a 58-minute response time, as compared to the 11-minute national average.