911 Swamped

Too many people calling 911 unnecessarily? Via 357 Magnum:

The Vexing Obstacle to Police Reform: A Cop’s Miserable Life
The devolution of cops in big cities—and that’s where most of the crime happens—begins with patrol officers doing little but responding to 911 calls. That may sound to those who’ve never worn a police uniform like no big deal, just part of the job. Not so. The 911 system seemed like a good idea when it was created in the late 1960s for emergency calls. But Americans got addicted to instantly available cops. By 1996 there were 268,000 911 calls daily and now there are 600,000, many of which are not related to crimes in progress or an imminent emergency but to non-threatening disorderly conduct problems or taking reports on car accidents or burglaries that occurred hours or days before.

It isn’t always the caller’s fault.

A couple of years ago, I had a suspicious person who wanted into my house: She claimed to be a subcontractor for an inspection company working on behalf of the mortgage servicing company. When asked for ID, she pulled out a smartphone and showed me a picture of a company logo. Oh, and she named the wrong mortgage servicing company. I ran her off.

Since this looked like a person trying to case homes for possible burglary, I decided to give the police a heads up in case she was trying it on other people. This was no emergency, and my incident was over, I called the PD’s non-emergency line.

When I started to tell them I wanted to pass on some info, the person taking the call said, “Let me put you through to 911.”


So when the 911 operator picked up, I told her, “Sorry, this isn’t an emergency, but the non-emergency line put me through to you anyway.”

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2A advocate, writer, firearms policy & law analyst, general observer of pre-apocalyptic American life.

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