“But what happens when you call and no one shows up?”

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, if you can call before bad things happen. But it isn’t a magic spell; it is a strategy for dealing with crime. SPECIAL REPORT: Emergency response times in EP are twice national average. Not every strategy will work in every situation.

About 67 percent of the time, the police department’s response time for priority 1, 2 and 3 calls is within 21 minutes. According to the the American Police Beat, a law enforcement publication, the national average response time for a priority 1 call is 10 minutes.

The culprit? The cops want more money for more cops and more cars. I won’t say they are wrong – El Paso apparently has an historically-low number of officers and vehicles. But the fact that beauracracies always want more people and money (and power) is a factor leading to a bit of skepticism. But that isn’t the subject of this post.

You can’t always call 911 BEFORE something bad happens. But if you do, you still may have a few minutes on your hands before the cavalry comes riding over the hill. On average you will wait 10 minutes in America. In some places you may wait a LOT longer. In El Paso you might wait 20 minutes. A lot of bad things can happen in 5 minutes, forget about 20 minutes.

So you might want to come up with some strategies for what to do during those minutes. Or what you will do if you can’t call 911 before the bad things happen.

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3 thoughts on ““But what happens when you call and no one shows up?”

  1. I think the wait times out here in rural CA are longer than whatever is “usual,” especially if you’re up in the forest. The windy roads present a safety speed-limit just by themselves, and then there’s distance. EMS may use a helicopter for injuries, but Cops don’t speed to the rescue in a chopper.

  2. Wow, ten minutes is near forever in an emergency situation. It’s definitely important to arm yourself and be prepared for danger. The cops can’t always save you.

  3. I should see 10 minutes…

    In my experience my local 911 call center drops you instantly to hold, where you might spend ten minutes listening to them telling you about how important your call is to them. After that it might take another 20 minutes before a police car or ambulance arrives.

    When 911 went in the police and fire department phone numbers became unlisted; this caused “public service announcements” on the radio begging people to not use 911 for trivial calls… except those announcements didn’t include the phone numbers either. The only way you could get the number was to find a dialup phone and have the fifty cent directory service fee added to someone’s bill.

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