Thursday, August 8, 2013

Independence or Patience - How Important is 911 Response Time To You?

By Dave Dargo

I was really curious about police response times after reading articles about Detroit's bankruptcy and the claims that the average response time in that city to a 911 call was 58 minutes. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal indicates mixed feelings about the meaning of 911 call response times.

The article argues, generally, that police response times aren't that important because the police are responding, usually, after something bad has happened and the perpetrator(s) have left. The important issue is the response time for high-priority calls that are made when something is happening or about to happen.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has a survey that examines police response times based on the type of crime.  In table 107 of this particular study, they show that for crimes of violence the police respond within 5 minutes about 25% of the time, between 6-10 minutes about 29% of the time and between 11 minutes and 1 hour about 38% of the time.

The Wall Street Journal article correctly points out that there is no standard way of recording 911 response time. Some cities measure response time from when a police officer is dispatched. Most of us would think that response time would be measured from when we dialed 911.

I've called 911 a lot of times; perhaps close to 50 times to report various things: fires, burglaries and automobile accidents as examples. I've been fortunate in that I've never had to call 911 for myself. Even so, I've found myself on hold many, many times when calling 911. Once in Portland, Oregon I saw a woman being beaten and I had 5 calls get a busy signal on 911 before getting through and even then I was put on hold for 2 or 3 minutes. I was chasing the perpetrator down the streets of Portland speaking with the dispatcher waiting for the police to arrive. I would consider the response time for 911 to start from when I hit "call" on that first 911 call and not from when they finally dispatched the police officer.

The article in the Journal points out that all calls are lumped in the statistics and that high-priority calls are handled differently. I would assume that my call in Portland was a high-priority call but I'll never know.

Even if we gave the very best slant to the data and assume that 100% of the high-priority calls were in the "Within 5 minutes" response time of the study we would still be in trouble if we were counting on the police to "save" us.

The anti-gun propagandists insist you and I don't need a gun for self-defense. They tell us to call 911 if we're in trouble.

Five minutes seems like an eternity when we're in trouble. Try it now. See if you can stop reading and stare at your computer clock for five minutes. Don't talk, don't read something else, just stare at a clock for five minutes. You won't do it. It probably won't take you more than 10 seconds to give up and get back to reading and moving on with your life.

Do you want to just lie there and "take it" while you wait for the police to come and take a report about what happened to you? Or, do you want to fight and stop an attack before it costs you those things you hold so dear?

How dare the anti-gunners claim it's immoral for you to defend yourself with a gun? How dare they force you to submit to a predator so they can feel better about themselves at one of their cocktail-party philosophical debates? How dare they force their unrealistic and Utopian world-views on any victim in favor of allowing that predator to not only perpetrate but to, ultimately, get away with their crime?

We have a right to self-defense. We have a right to independence. And, most importantly, we have a right to make our own choices about whether we will independently defend ourselves or patiently wait as the police attempt to improve their response time.

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