Improving police response time doesn’t reduce crime, so why is it still important?
Agency administrators had been operating under the assumption that getting to the call quicker can increase arrest rates
By Dr. Chuck Russo, Program Director of Criminal Justice at American Military University
In the summer of 2015, the New York Police Department (NYPD) launched an initiative to distribute smartphones to its officers with the intention, among many things, of improving response time of calls for service. In April, the NYPD said it reduced response times to crimes-in-progress by one minute, thanks to this smartphone initiative.
As early as the 1900s, improving response time has been a top priority of law enforcement administrators throughout the United States, with the goal of improving the efficiency of police deployment. Starting with entire departments on bicycles in 1905, followed by fully motorized patrol forces in 1910 (Wrobleski & Hess, 2000), agency administrators have been attempting to improve delivery of service to their communities.
For most of the last 100 years, agency administrators had been operating under the assumption that getting to the call quicker can increase arrest rates. Research, however, has shown that this is not the case (Kansas City Police Department, 1977): Response times actually have little impact on arrest rates.
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