911 = useless


July 7, 2003, 04:47 PM
I was up late on Saturday night catching up on some emails. My den over looks the street. I noticed a suspicious looking car driving up and down my block, so I kill the desk light and my monitor. It parks down the street and two guys get out and start heading to my neighbors car. I instantly call 911. After the crabby #$#$! put me through to the correct police department they take forever patiently asking me for all of my info, address, name and all. 2 minutes past, all the while I'm on my cell phone looking outside of my window as I watch two guys violently and unsuccessfully try to kick in his window while the other is taking a slim jim and working his window, also unsuccessfully. By the time I actually got down to telling the rather impatient lady on the phone what I'm calling in about, they are running back to their car, hop in and take off. So I tell her this, and she tells me that they'll try and send someone down, but to call back if they return. Well, 10 minutes later they did, and so I get back on the phone and give them a call again while staring at them from my window, except now accompanied by my wife whom I woke up. Again, it takes forever for them to connect me to the department and placed on hold! I finally get someone from the station and tell them that I was told to call back if anyone returned to break into the car, well there was not a file made about it so I had to go through the whole routine again!!! Again someone comes out of the car, takes some object and tries to break the window, and is unsuccessful. And again, by the time I'm explaining what's going on, they take off and I'm told that, again, that they will try and send someone down, but to call back if they returned since they were unsuccessful in actually stealing the car! Well guess what... they returned. Except this time I had it. Thoughts of how pissed off I was when my wifes car was stolen had made me angry. I gave my phone to my wife, grabbed my shoes, flashlight and shotgun, went around back and to the dark side of my house. By this time he had finally broken the window, at that time I racked the slide of my shotgun and yelled " Get the #$## away from that car!!! " The guy dropped the slim jim and chased his already fleeing escape car down the street.

I've got to say, my heart was sure going at that point. I settled down, went back inside and secured my shotgun. Threw on a t shirt and stayed out side with my shotty. After a minute a squad car finally showed up, and so I gave my shotty to my wife to secure and I gave them my story, got to stand around in the cold for half an hour and I got a card with a case #.

new home defence motto:

When I hear a bump in the night, the first thing I reach for is not that phone, We no longer dial 911 around here.

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July 7, 2003, 04:52 PM
Second call shoulda been "Hey, I called a little while ago about some car thieves? And you guys said you'd send some cops? Well, tell them not to bother, but you better send an ambulance..." You'll get a VERY rapid response...

July 7, 2003, 04:55 PM
Reminds me of the story where the guy was told to call back and he did, informing the police to never mind he had shot the bad guys--it didn't take long before there were cops everywhere.

AJ Dual
July 7, 2003, 04:57 PM
Put your local PD's seven-digit number on speed dial.

Kids put a Drano bomb on our front porch, I heard the bang, searched the house, but couldn't figure out what it was for over an hour until I smelled the chemicals.

Since the bomb had gone off over an hour before, and other than the lye and aluminum spatterered about there was no reall damage to my porch, I called the main PD number since I felt 911 wasn't warranted.

Two squads, going about 50-55 in a 25mph residental, show up in 3 minutes to take my report. :D

At my suggestion, they canvas the neighbor kids across the street thinking they may have seen or recognized any kids hanging out in front of my porch. I recieved a call 3 days later from one of the investigating officers who told me that they'd caught the kid and he was going to juvenile court.

Granted it's only one incedent in three years at my home, but after getting the run-around reporting traffic accidents I witnessed via 911, I'm kind of convinced. Although direct dialing your PD like this probably only works in smaller burbs, and medium-small cities.

July 7, 2003, 05:13 PM
Yep-useless. I recall the days before 911, I think the response was quicker(maybe it was the situation) :)

A few years ago I did witness immediate resonse to a 911 call. LEO lived here at complex and was called by another neighbor because her son had fired shots and wanted in. Just out of jail for dope , mad at momma, for doing the right thing, and wanted revenge. Hearing the shot I grab my CCW and take a peek to see officer against two. He says "officer needs assistance" and get your butt down here. I called "officer needs assistance" before operator could say a word. I run down and hold one at bay. Jiminey!! we had cops from everywhere, even a 'copter, tires screechng , search lights, blue lights, burning smoking rubber...I bet it was 2 min.

LEO neighbor yelling and pointing at me "He's a good guy"--screw it. I hit the ground spread eagle with my gun atop a car...them shotguns got a real BIG hole from viewing end.:D

July 7, 2003, 05:17 PM
Firearms always seem to get a fast response, good or bad.

"Yeah, they are trying to break into the car across the street, I am going to set up my MG42 in case they start coming over here. I only have 10,000 rounds, so I don't know how long I can hold them... hey, the police are already here!"

July 7, 2003, 05:18 PM
I don't think a property crime is a good reason to call 911, one of the reasons it's clogged up is because of unwarranted calls. This type of thing should go to the regular PD line, unless the situation escalates. owner comes out and confronts the thieves for example.

Alan Smithiee
July 7, 2003, 05:29 PM
4 years ago I witnessed a serious MVA on a local highway half way between 2 decent sized towns (20,000 plus pop each), about 4 miles from each town, someone else had already stopped so I sped off to a buinesses 300 yards or so down the road to call it in, ran in, told them there was a bad MVA and I needed to call 911, called 911.

and it was answered by 911 in a city almost 100 miles away.

needless to say the company was rather suprised.. and so were the local EMT/Fire/PD when they were informed.

(at that point I heard sirens, so someone had gotten though)

July 7, 2003, 05:30 PM
It's situations like this that make me want a big fifty. Just cap off one round from that mo fo, and the entire neighborhood will be on the phone!

July 7, 2003, 05:30 PM

nah crime-in-progress should always warrant a 999 (or 911 for you) call. one thinks you mean the actual reporting of crime that has happened, which should go direct to the local station.


the problem is that at any given time you dont know what else is going on in the PD area (or borough responsible over here). at the level of response, sometimes the only possible method of dealing with calls is fire-brigade style with the operator / dispatcher having to triage the calls. If at the same time as your call there was someone getting assaulted and there was only one unit to deal then the unit has to go to the assault; which means that your call (which is important to you after all) gets knocked down the list. However, if you dont call, it doesnt even make it to the list, so noone comes anyway.

July 7, 2003, 06:02 PM
To take this in a different direction, and this of course is not a flame at the initial poster, but how does everyone here think he reacted? Was it appropriate for him to escalate the situation like that?

I know laws vary state by state, but what do you think?

July 7, 2003, 06:11 PM
The Problem with 911 & 999 is the flood of Hoaxes and Pointless calls they get "My cat's Stuck up a Tree, Come And Get it Down!" etc.

Calling the Local PD Directly is allways Better.
(cept in this town it's a waste of time either way...)

Here's a scan from an English Newspaper article I'm sure you will find amusing.


July 7, 2003, 06:39 PM
I guess it really came down to me being just plain frustrated. Frustrated at being robbed before, had my car stolen twice and with the emergency operator(s) at that time. And actually watching a crime being committed with me just sitting there watching helplessly. I remember how frustrating it was to wake up to my car missing, and how I was thinking, Where in the hell were my neighbors? how I wish someone else would have seen what was happening to me and help out. My only intention was to stop the incident by surprise and scare tactics and not to actually confront them, which is why I crept through my back door and around the side of my house that is pitch black dark. That way the BG's would not have known my location in the darkness. If they did have a gun, I would be directing them towards an area that was in the clear as there is about 25 feet of space between my house and the neighbors and our house backs into a green belt. That way I would have been engaging them from a covered and dark area, and kept any unknowning neighbors away from retaliating gun fire from my location.
It wasn't exactly a master plan, but I wasn't just jumping out in the middle of the street with a target on my chest. It worked. My neighbor keeps his car, minus a driver side window.
I guess I also was frustrated that I tried my best to move out of the ghetto, even though I know Kent isn't exactly Bel-Air, and keep all that BS back in the city, where all of my other problems came from.
And to also let them know: There are NO easy targets here. We have to learn to stick together. Peace through Superior Firepower.

Neighbor was very very appreciative and conveyed that he would have done the same thing. I've always been good to my neighbors for just this sort of thing.

Navy joe
July 7, 2003, 06:55 PM
Jones, I give him two thumbs for his actions. He took responsibility for his own neighborhood. I have done a similar thing with car thiefs in my area, and I think the word got out, the crackheads moved elsewhere. Introducing a gun isn't really escalation, it is there to save you should the car thieves decide to try their hand at armed robbery or murder in the middle of you interrupting them. If the police did come, they would do the same, which is introduce a gun to the situation. That is not to mean that the police or Ari came to shoot a car thief, the gun is there as a deterrent to the car attackers turning on either of the two when confronted.

Some will say that you should stay in your house. I say that to have any real sense of community you have to look out for your neighbors. The same deadly force rules apply and you have to be aware that any situation you thrust yourself in can change rapidly. Same goes for the police, so if a citizen has the requisite training and awareness to potentially employ deadly force, why not? I personally could not live with myself if I hid in my house and let bad folks have free run of the neighborhood.

Ari, still call 911. Train your wife to do it too so that she can provide a calm narrative of the unfolding events. This should include a description of yourself if you decide to leave the household, advising you are armed and that you will act in a non-aggressive manner when the marked cars roll up. Often local police are very helpful in catching the local criminal. The police have a good idea of where they scurry to when the lights are turned on. More importantly, you need your story established first if all goes south. Nothing like a homeless drunk filing a complaint that says you chased him for three blocks with a gun, kicked him in the nethers and maglited his head. It wouldn't be true of course, but no sense letting someone even have the remotest chance of getting you in civil liability proceedings.

Neighbor was very very appreciative and conveyed that he would have done the same thing. I've always been good to my neighbors for just this sort of thing.

So where the heck was he when your stuff got jacked? :scrutiny: ;)

July 7, 2003, 07:16 PM
I'm the one new to this neighborhood, about 10 months new. I moved here from a pretty gritty place which is why I was surprised at what took place in what I thought was the "better side" of this city. Your rite though. I was actually already feeling guilty at not doing something earlier. I don't know if I would have been able to go to sleep after watching that and not doing anything. Actually I know I would not have, and would have regretted not doing something about it. We will still call 911, but it won't be the first thing I reach for any more.

My neighbor was the first to greet me when we first moved in with a big bag of Salmon the first week we were there. And he has always been friendly. I don't want to convey a " theres' a new sherrif in town... " type attitude to them, I just wanted to let him know, when you need me, I'm already there.

That and the fact that a line from Tears of the Sun, that I just got done watching earlier that night, had a line in the end of the movie that read" Evil only prevails, when good men do nothing " or something to that effect.

Besides, me and my young wife are thinking of kids soon. I want to know that have some sort of control in MY neighborhood.

July 7, 2003, 08:05 PM
I know Kent isn't exactly Bel-Air

As I recall, OJ did his damage in Bel-Air so....

July 7, 2003, 08:29 PM
Kudos for doing the right thing! The response you got was a lot better than the one the cops would have got when they arrived later to look at a broken window and no suspects.:rolleyes:

Standing Wolf
July 7, 2003, 08:33 PM
I've heard it's better to report a fire than a crime: much faster response.

July 7, 2003, 08:33 PM
This tends to get attention in a hurry...

Even if you didn't hear a thing...:evil:

July 7, 2003, 09:33 PM
Ya know, sometimes "better" neighborhoods is exactly why crime happens there....expecially property crimes. :eek: Like flies to honey...:fire:

July 7, 2003, 09:45 PM
Some hints on controlling a 911 call from my experience on both sides of the phone.

When you dial 911 on a cell phone, it goes to the designated 911 center in your area. It may not be the emergency dispatch center closest to your location. In California the Highway Patrol picks up 911 cell phone calls in the central valley. So, if I dial 911 in rural Kings County, Highway Patrol in Fresno picks up the call. They are about 50 miles from the action.

First hint: If you know what emergency dispatch center is closest, tell the 911 cell phone operator you want that one. They generally have one button dial capability to transfer the call. In my case, I dial 911, Fresno picks up, I tell the operator to transfer me to Kings County Dispatch. The next operator I hear is the dispatcher at Kings County.

Second hint: Take control of the call, or you will end up playing by the script the dispatcher is supposed to follow. In Ari's case, I suggest starting with, "There is a burglary of an automobile parked in front of my house at xxxx Maple Street in the city of xxxxx. There are two males involved. They are trying to break a window to gain entry. The car they are breaking into is a 2003 red Ford Crown Victoria. It appears the burglars are operating out of a 1990s vintage POS grey Chevrolet. You have now passed the essential information to the dispatcher without playing 20 questions as to your identity, phone number, the color of your underwear, etc.

Third hint: Use the 911 number if available to report a crime in process. It is easy to remember. The call will be recorded. Calls on lines other than 911 may or may not be recorded. If you think the dispatcher was a buffoon, you can make your complaint later and there will be a recording of just what transpired.

Fourth hint: If you are going to rely on your spouse or significant other to make the call, make sure they know how to make a 911 call in the manner I just described in Hints 1 and 2. My wife and I came home one evening to surprise a burglar trying to clean out our motor home of the microwave and other appliances. I told the wife to call the sheriff and she got cute and didn't use 911. She used the county business number she always used to call me at the Sheriff's Office. She dialed the number wrong, and complained to me no one answered. I told her to quit playing around and use 911. She got the Fresno emergency dispatch and more time was wasted while she got transferred to Kings County Dispatch. Then she too got wrapped up in playing twenty questions and more time was wasted in getting deputies to the scene.

July 7, 2003, 10:38 PM
In an Emergancy, call 1911. When the emergancy is over, call 911.


Gordy Wesen
July 8, 2003, 01:05 AM
A while back our house was set on fire. I called 911 and was told we were rural and she couldn't help me. I couldn't believe it, I'm standing in the kitchen, the living room is on fire and kids are in the house...I said, my house is burning down, you're 911 and you can't help?.... Can you call someone for me? She replied no and proceeded to give me another number. Unbelieveable.
Know where you have to call in advance!

July 8, 2003, 01:36 AM
Got mugged by 3 "disadvantaged youths" (they were probably just getting me back for enslaving their great great great great grandparents, something I was directly responisble for:rolleyes: ) a while back. They surrounded me before I could react (I was right outside my school, walking toward my mom who i had just seen pull into the parking lot, I wasn't exactly on orange or yellow alert). One pulled a knife out. I gave them my money. They were so greedy they ripped up a 20 in haste to get it. I begged them and retained my cell phone, which I used to call 911.

Took the police 20 minutes to get there. 20 minutes. I'm not rural, the robbery happened at the intersection of two fairly major thouroughfares in San Francisco. O'Shaughnessy and Portola for those who know the area.

It's completely absurd. And it'll be years before I can dial 1911.


July 8, 2003, 02:31 AM
It take's half an hour to get out by me.So it's pretty useless anyway.

July 8, 2003, 03:28 AM
A while back our house was set on fire. I called 911 and was told we were rural and she couldn't help me. I couldn't believe it, I'm standing in the kitchen, the living room is on fire and kids are in the house...I said, my house is burning down, you're 911 and you can't help?.... Can you call someone for me? She replied no and proceeded to give me another number. Unbelieveable.
Know where you have to call in advance! I am very sorry to hear of your experience.

Perhaps you do not know that the United States Supreme Court, The United States Congress and literally dozens (if not more) lower courts have unanimously ruled that the police are under no obligation whatsoever to protect individual citizens.

For example, had you been standing there watching your wife getting raped (as if you wouldn't grab your gun/knife/whatever, but bear with me) in your living room, the police would be under no obligation whatsoever to respond even if they were right in front of your house.

I see no reason why it would be any different for the Fire Department, Ambulances, etc.

Does anyone know for sure?

July 8, 2003, 11:47 AM
Some very good advise here. This is kind of like when my dog fell on it's head ( that's another story) and went into a seizure. We couldn't find anyone in the phone book or at 911 that could help at mid-night on a Saturday night. So ever since then, I did some research and found a 24 hour emergency pet service and programed both our cell phones and the house phone as well as a big post it with the number on the refrigerator. I'll have to find my local dispatcher's number, and just call directly.

Thanks for the info Pilgrim. I suppose, being so excited over the situation and panicing on my part didn't help matters any. After I seen what they were up to, my heart just started racing. It'll be a little ways until I can master controling my self under stressful situations like this. To be totally honest. As soon as I stepped out side, I was very very scared. My knees were pretty close to knockin' together. But as soon as I racked the slide on my shotty, I just turned into "go" mode, as if I had an out of body experience and I was just watching myself do everything at that point and my body and sub concious just took over. But shortly after it was over, I was very releived, and was pretty surprised by everything I did. Kind of hard to explain.

Alan Smithiee
July 8, 2003, 11:48 AM
true, I was sitting in a local gun shop one afternoon waiting to pick something up, a women comes in with a infant in arms and says that the Police sent her over to get a gun. seems the ex was violating a RO and stalking her and the cops couldn't find him to grab him, so they told her to get a cell phone and a gun since there response time to her home was close to half an hour.

(the owner sold her a pump shotgun and spent 2 hours going over it with her, but he wouldn't sell her a handgun untill she had some training)

Alan Smithiee
July 8, 2003, 12:09 PM
Ari, it sounds like you did as you have been told to do for years and years and years.. see a crime.. call the Police.

and if you hadn't been at least a bit scared when you walked out there with a shotgun then you got to worry (a bit of fear can be a good thing).

other wise it sounds like you done good.

July 8, 2003, 12:38 PM

Feel free to move down to South Carolina and be my neighbor!

July 8, 2003, 01:07 PM
Thanks for the info Pilgrim. I suppose, being so excited over the situation and panicing on my part didn't help matters any. After I seen what they were up to, my heart just started racing. It'll be a little ways until I can master controling my self under stressful situations like this.

No one is a natural when it comes to handling stress in an emergency. To do well you have to practice what you will do until it becomes second nature. That's why fire safety experts tell families to not only discuss what to do if the house catches fire, but to actually have fire drills where family members practice using their escape routes to get out of the house. Do the same if you are traveling and staying in a hotel. Where are the emergency exits? If the emergency exit is in the middle of the corridor, how many doors down from your room is the exit?

A similar drill you should also practice while traveling is knowing where you are at all times. If you should be first on the scene of a terrible traffic accident, can you tell a 911 dispatcher where you are accurately?

Another good drill to practice in your mind is making plans for your defense should you be in a store and suddenly the place is being robbed. Where are the exits? Are you constantly studying the people around you so you can detect when something is unusual and about to go wrong?


July 8, 2003, 01:13 PM
1. Witnessed a drive-by. Called it in before the last round of brass hit the pavement.

20 minutes later the cops showed up, bitched me out, and didn't even get out of the car to go look at the target house.

2. A coed neighbor neglected to take her obviously much needed medication, stripped down to birthday suit, and proceeded to run up and own the street naked and yelling.

Within five minutes the street looked like someone was giving away free donuts.

I know what kinda call I'm gonna put in if there's trouble.

July 8, 2003, 01:18 PM
20 minutes later the cops showed up, bitched me out, and didn't even get out of the car to go look at the target house. What in gods name did they yell at you for?

July 8, 2003, 03:03 PM
Well, at that time, I had long hair, a beard, etc., and they told me that nobody was shooting, that there weren't any other witnesses, etc., so I must have called in a hoax - I pointed out brass on the pavement, etc... The target house was dark - they didn't even get out of the car...

I'd been on the third floor of a house we were rehabbing, and while I saw the incident, I didn't get clear looks at plates, etc... One of the kids who lived in the house had recently been busted on a small-time "selling pharmaceuticals without a license" charge, and I assume that the target practice was to let him know not to share any "trade secrets" with the po-po...

Gordy Wesen
July 8, 2003, 08:12 PM
re: the last post on page 1 -


For those of you in Rio Linda.:)

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