Average police response time ?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by goon, Dec 20, 2004.

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  1. goon

    goon Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    I did a search once on the average police response time. My methods were not really scientific, but I came to a guestimate that the average response time under the most favorable conditions was around 4 minutes. This was sort of a [email protected]$$ed attempt on my part to come up with some kind of a guage as to just how effective a phone call to the police would be in preventing you from being victimized, but I know there has to be a more accurate number out there.
    I am actually thinking that my figure is probably way off. It almost has to be longer than that, especially if you consider small towns with only a few cops or rural areas where the cops sometime get lost on the way to where they are going.

    Does anyone have any idea about where to start on this one?

    BTW - This is not meant to be a cop-bashing thread. I know that you guys can't be everywhere at once.
    I just want a number to wheel out when I get into an argment about how effective guns are for self defense.
  2. Nehemiah Scudder

    Nehemiah Scudder Member

    Dec 16, 2004
    Speaking for myself, I see cops running around the neighborhood all the time. (I smoke out on my front porch instead of smoking in the house.)

    We've even got bicycle cops out in the summertime.

    So, I'd imagine that the response time would be fairly quick.
  3. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Nevada, escaped from the PDRK via Idaho.
    Before Community Oriented Policing became the popular way to do things, response time was considered a way to measure the effectiveness of police service. IIRC, five minutes response time was considered very, very good.

    If you want to know your local agency's average response time, just ask them. I am sure it is information they keep to impress the city or county fathers, the news media, and the local civic organizations like Rotary.

  4. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Jan 3, 2003
    South PA, and a bit West of center!
    ''Average time''??? That's a bit like ''how long is a piece of cord''??

    Seriously - it is something that IMO will vary enormously according to area ... and manpower. In a large city then I'd guess it could well be quite lengthy, in particular if all on duty cops are up to their eyes in calls.

    In my area - which is semi rural - it might be quite short but - again - it all will depend on where units are when a call comes in. The local Sheriff's dept might be all spread out and busy - the state cops very possibly are mostly busy on interstate duty ... so, real hard to second guess!

    I will tho make one assumption - which is - the odds of any cops making it to ''save'' you, from attack, whether lethal or non-lethal - is remote. And that is in no way a swipe at cops in general. Just a probable fact of life. Thus, 16/7 CCW is my constant recommendation.
  5. Shield529

    Shield529 Member

    Jun 6, 2004
    It's going to very wildly by area and type of call.
    A city police dept. may have one officer per 1-5 square miles. Times can be from 1-2 minute (fight, accident with injuries, ETC) to 30-45 minutes (theft, alarm, fraud, ETC).
    A county sheriff's office may only have one deputy for 200 square miles. Time can be 1-15 minutes for major calls and 1-2 hours for minor crimes.
    State police can be 1 trooper for several counties, but they drive like bats outta h&!! so they often get there fast.

    From a cop a quick request. If you need a report made and it is for anything that can be taken by phone, please have the officer take it by phone. It frees alot of time up. I can take calls by phone for instance while waiting for a wrecker on a accident scene. It clears backlogged calls faster.
  6. TheFederalistWeasel

    TheFederalistWeasel member

    Aug 1, 2003
    It will vary greatly from department to department.

    When I worked in South Atlanta you called 911 a dispatcher took the call, it was entered into a computer aided dispatch system. The call was given a priority code of 1 thru 5 based on certain values; exactly what they were I do not know. These calls were entered into a queue status and literally e-mailed from our 911-center to the radio room, which was on another floor. There the actual communications officer would take the call and based on location assign it to a zone, if that zone car was busy and the call rated a priority dispatch the next available zone would catch the call.

    We ran 24 cars a shift average. We worked 3 shifts 10 hour each, the afternoon shift overlapped the evening shift by 2 hours 4PM to 6PM and the night shift over lapped the evening shift by four hours 10PM to 2AM. So during those times you could have as may as 48 cars rolling.

    Our average response time was 2 minutes.

    Now look at the department I work at now, small rural city/county.

    1 Deputy on each shift with S.O. and 1 city officer on per shift, from 1PM to 1AM S.O. float a supervisor and from 9AM to 5PM Investigations runs 2 Deputies.

    911 dispatcher is the communications officer; he/she can give out the call while keeping you on the phone, giving us real time info.

    From 1AM to 9AM the who city/county is covered by 1 Deputy and 1 City Officer, if a hot call come in on the far east side and the Deputy is on the far Westside, with the city located in the center, city will respond, normally.

    Average response time?

    No such creature here, sometimes it could be 3 to 5 minutes, other times you could be on your own for up to 30 minutes especially if County and City are on calls or already backing each other up.

    And what if Were in the middle of transporting a prisoner to jail at the exact time you call for help, can’t just stop and toss out the prisoner, nor can I go to the scene of the hot call while having one in custody.

    State law prohibits it.
  7. Shield529

    Shield529 Member

    Jun 6, 2004
    Add on:
    The last post is correct. Unless by the grace of God we are around the corner from the call, (maybe 15% of the time), we cannot save you from attack. That just the truth.
  8. RavenVT100

    RavenVT100 Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    In the town I currently live in, the force is very well funded and manned and we can get a ~2 min response time when we call (non-emergency even). Contrast this with the time I lived in Indiana and begged 911 to send someone over during an emergency and it took them 45 minutes (fortunately I was armed during the incident and was able to resolve it peacefully).

    So yeah, what FederalistWeasel is saying is correct and should be obvious if you think about it. Not all Police forces are the same.
  9. Nehemiah Scudder

    Nehemiah Scudder Member

    Dec 16, 2004
    What's the odds of needing saved though?

    Aren't most murders, rapes, etc. perpetrated by attackers "known" by the victim?

    Granted, rare things do happen.
  10. JPM70535

    JPM70535 Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Sunny Florids
    As a retired LEO I have been telling anyone who asks or comments on Police response time that if they believe their Local Police can protect thm, they need to wake up and smell the coffee.

    I once figured average response time to an incident and came up with the following;

    The average call to 911 takes approx. 2-3 minutes during which time the officer to be dispatchred is not in the loop and is not in pursuit mode. Once the RO is notified of the call, chances of him being at that location are going to be (slim to none)Your self protection is up to no one. but yourself. Probably the best you can hope for is for is a response time of 1-2 minutes
    and that the RO does noy have a case of the RED*** to impede his response/
  11. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

    Nov 8, 2004
    Spring Hill, Florida
    The response time of YOU is zero. You dont have to explain the situation to yourself. You dont need to wait for yourself to arrive at the scene armed (you are already armed right?).

    Cops are good at solving crimes, not preventing them. A dead intruder and a live victim are a lot easier to "solve" than a dead victim and a missing intruder.
  12. thorn726

    thorn726 Member

    Dec 15, 2004
    berkeley, CA
    where i'm at , Berkely, it's sort of a city. also close to SF, so i can estimate for there also-
    pretty much the same all around here- , VERY dependant on what the problem is.

    people fighting on the street- 20 MINUTES!!! they dont want to get involved.
    add a weapon- 5 minutes or less.

    house broken into? 30 minutes
    car accident- 40 minutes.
    shoplifter in your store? if you caught them, maybe 30 minutes.

    domestic disturbance/seriuos violence in progress , pretty fast 5 minutes or less.

    overall i a mnot complaining, but sometimes in certain areas, the police will take FORever to show up, leaving plenty of time for idiots to go away, come back and fight the next day.
    so your average street troublemaker has to get in like three major fights before he gets removed.

    which becomes a hassle
  13. LiquidTension

    LiquidTension Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    I don't know about violent crimes, but around here the response time for "suspicious vehicle in my neighbor's driveway with strange people sneaking around" is the next day. My friend dropped me off in my own driveway in his van back in high school. We called his van the "Dookie Brown Van" because well, it was dookie brown. Anyway, he dropped me off, waited until I got inside, then went home. Some neighbor called the cops and said that a suspicious vehicle pulled up into the driveway (it was there all the time), turned off the lights (he was shining his lights on the door so I could see the lock), someone started sneaking around (me going into my own house), then drove away several minutes later (one minute tops). This was all at about 10pm.
    The next day at around 4pm, a Lexington County Sheriff's Deputy knocks on the door. He talks to my dad because, "he just wanted to make sure everyone was ok." Great. He told us what the neighbor had said (never found out who it was). I was kinda pissed because if the neighbor had been accurate, my entire family could have been dead. I understand the police are busy, but seriously - after 18 hours, why bother? Then I remembered that we have guns and that if anything had been going on, the gunshots would have gotten the police there much sooner.
    I know this is not the norm, and I'm not bashing the police. Come to think of it, the only time that the police have had a fast response time when I'm involved is when the bitchy neighbor across the street (different house) called the cops because we were having a party. Of course, the "party" consisted of 6 ppl playing Risk and having a few beers :rolleyes:

    I don't actually have any data to contribute, but I thought I'd share some funny stories :scrutiny:
  14. Battlespace

    Battlespace Member

    Feb 14, 2004
    It depends on where I happen to be
    Within the city limits of where I live the response time is probably 3 to 5 minutes for an emergency at 3:00 AM. In the county it might be as long as 10 to 15 for a real emergency. All ambulance service comes from town and to the far reaches of the county it might be a 30 minute drive each way (if the driver can find all the unmarked roads) so that is an hour of driving time plus the time needed to stabilize before transport.

    I live in the city limits and have four LEO from four different departments living within a block of me. I know this does not count for much as when they are home they are off and might not even be around, but having the cars in the drive at least helps cut down the vandalism in the neighborhood.
  15. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 22, 2002
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    My area is large, with widely scattered homes, mostly. One constable and one deputy; sometimes a second deputy.

    A tourist lady once asked a former constable about response time. "Aw, heck, lady, I guess about thirty minutes, if all the gates are open."

    If a 911 call is made due to imminent danger, odds are that the police can only function as janitors. As has always been the case, only the individual can be responsible for his own safety...

  16. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Member

    May 5, 2004
    I live in a 'burb. My street is 4 miles long, and there's a family at the north end that generates a lot of calls. Even if a patrol car happens to be conveniently located at the south end of the street, if they averaged 60 MPH end-to-end it would take four minutes to get there. (60 MPH is one mile per minute, if you've forgotten)

    In fact, response times in my town are closer to 15 minutes on average. Moral -- don't rely on the cops.
  17. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member.

    Dec 25, 2002
    Decatur, AL
    Shield529, my in-laws live right around the corner from a Milwaukee police station. 4 1/2 blocks.

    A couple of years ago my cokehead BIL was threatening his brother with a knife. Response time was 12 minutes. In all fairness to the officers, it's a very high crime area.

    Here in my little low-crime neighborhood, a false alarm brought a squad in less than five minutes.

    Up in more remote parts of the state, officers and deputies have said that twenty to thirty minutes should be expected.
  18. Gunsnrovers

    Gunsnrovers Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Lost Angeles
    In January 2001, we thought we had someone in the house. It took the LAPD just under 15 minutes to get here at 11:30PM.

    Made for an interesting evening.
  19. Stevie-Ray

    Stevie-Ray Member

    Feb 22, 2003
    Mitchi-gun, the Sunrise Side
    In our city, south of Detroit, generally 5-10 minutes.
  20. Shovelhead

    Shovelhead Member

    Apr 24, 2004
    Northern VA / Burkeville, VA
    I guess it would depend on the situation.

    No need to hurry; I've already shot them
    Seen in letter-to-the-Editor Form (Source - publication and author are unknown):

    As I was going to bed the other night, I noticed people in my shed stealing things.

    I phoned the police, but was told there was no one in the area to respond. They said they would be over as soon as possible.

    I hung up. A minute later I rang again. "Hello," I said, "I called you a minute ago because there were people in my shed stealing things. You don't have to hurry now, because I've shot them."

    Within minutes there was half a dozen police cars in the area, plus helicopters and an armed response unit. They caught the burglars red-handed.

    One of the officers said, "I thought you said you'd shot them."

    To which I replied, "I thought you said there was no one available.
  21. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    Police don't prevent crimes.

    They write crime reports. Sometimes they solve crimes.

    When they show up doesn't really matter.
  22. carp killer

    carp killer Member

    Jan 26, 2003
    In my rural area, 20 min for an emergency, if your lucky enough to have a unit available. 1 to 4 hours for nonemergency.
  23. magsnubby

    magsnubby Member

    Apr 20, 2004
    I called 911 to report some kids vandelizing an under construction house across the street from me. Response time was about 3 minutes.

    I called 911 to report a drunken neighbor firing a 9mm in the air. I can't give you a response time on that one. It was December 31st, 1995. The cops still haven't shown up to take a report.
  24. Kharn

    Kharn Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Too long to trust your life on it.

  25. toblerone

    toblerone Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    PRK Frisco
    SF-East Bay

    Here are some from the SF Bay Area.
    Albany, CA (in the East Bay)

    Neighbor, Deceased, natural causes. 3 min or less PD & FD.
    Early eve. 18:00ish It took longer for the caller to tell me what happened than it did for the PD & FD to arrive.

    Suspicious person. <5 min, with a call back from Dispatch. Berkeley PD & UCPD had cleared out People's Park earlier that eve. (When I called it was to give them info only. The Dispatcher asked if I wanted to have a car come by, and I declined but they sent one anyway.) 02:30

    Fight @ Albany Bowl parking lot, I was out for a drive when I saw this, and drove over to the station to report it. By the time I walked out the door of the station, Three patrol car and one supervisor car roared past. 22:30 ish

    Downed powerline I didn't call but 'tween the time the power went out and I saw the patrol car's lights couldn't have been more than 10 min. 03:30 ish

    Richmond Annex, CA less than one mile from Albany border.

    Pepping Tom/Tresspasser. 2 different occasions 30/45 min
    First time, suspect gone, Second time suspect still there. 06:00 ish both times

    Stripped and abandoned car motor running. 30min+ 23:00ish
    (when I called I mentioned that I had seen El Cerrito PD questioning some youths in a VERY similar car just down the road, so RPD may have gone there first.)

    One of the houses in the neighborhood had, for a while, cops visiting alot. It must had been domestic problems. More often than not it was APD who were on scene.

    I once asked a Richmond PD officer why Albany PD was on scene in The Richmond Annex so often. And he replied 'Poaching.' As an aside he agreed that APD had a better responce time as their station is much closer.

    SF, Ca
    Tresspasser/Vandal First call, didn't want to come. Second call- when the guy picked up a stick and was beating on a stop sign the sent a car. 1hr. 22:30ish

    Guy kicking my car. Instant responce
    Some idiot in a rented scooter coming towards me, turned left into a crosswalk and I nearly creamed him. He then procceed to get hostile and repeatedly kicked my front bumper. Unfourtunately for him, the guy in the car behind me was offduty SFPD. 18:00ish
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