Police response time to emergency calls slows

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If you need the police, it may take them nine minutes to get to you, the longest the wait time has been since 2003.

That’s the new average response time in the Mayor’s Management Report, which was released Wednesday.

The average response time of 2012 was 9.1 minutes, according to the report.

Not only is that the longest the wait time has been since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office in 2002, it’s also an increase from the 8.4 minutes it took officers to get to people calling for help in 2011.

The wait time has steadily been increasing every year: In 2007, it took officers 6.9 minutes on average.

Some officials are concerned that the slower response times are a sign that the police force is overwhelmed.

“If you have far fewer cops responding to more calls for help, then
you’re going to have to take longer to get there,” said Queens Councilman Peter Vallone, chair of the Public Safety Committee.

Vallone told Metro that wait times might be not just minutes, but hours.

“If you are a victim of a hit-and-run or are a store owner holding a shoplifter, you can wait hours,” he said.

Two of his staffers waited two hours for police to respond to their serious car accidents, he said.

But he added that cops are still responding quickly to serious crimes.

According to the NYPD, that response
time was 4.6 minutes, the same as 2011 and barely up from 4.4 minutes
in 2010. Meanwhile, non-critical response times in 2012 went from an
average of 12.9 minutes in 2011 to 13.3 minutes in 2012.

“If you’ve got someone coming into your building, or in the process of being mugged, someone makes a phone call, they will still be there in the same time than they would have been a year ago,” he said.

Fewer officers means more crime?

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said Thursday that slower response times were a sign of fewer cops – and he warned of increasing crime.

“The only way to improve response times and the quality of life while reducing costs is to hire more police officers,” Lynch said.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said that about 6,000 fewer officers are on the streets than a decade ago.

Vallone added that he has been worried for years about the city losing its reputation for safety. Fewer cops are on the force to deal with more criminals, he said.

And particularly alarming? He said he is not seeing the crime compressed in any one neighborhood.

“What’s dangerous about this crime wave is it’s citywide, the first time in 20 years that crime has gone up in every borough,” he said. “That’s what makes this different.”

Citywide, murder is down 16 percent from last year, according to NYPD statistics.

However, through Sept. 9, crimes like rape, robbery and felony assault are all inching up from where they were at the same time last year.


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