Police response times are taking longer in many cities. Experts attribute the trend partly to staffing shortages. Departments are struggling to fill vacancies left by officers who have quit or retired, NPR reports. There isn't a national program tracking police response times, but some cities gather and publish their own stats. Jeff Asher, a crime analyst who publishes on Substack, compiled the numbers for 15 of those cities. Many larger agencies - New Orleans, Nashville, Portland, New York City, Seattle - are seeing reasonably sizable increases in the average response time, Asher said.
The increases vary. In New Orleans, average response times almost tripled, from 51 minutes in 2019 to 146 minutes last year. In New York, the number jumped less, from 18 minutes to 33. Asher says these figures are just a sampling of what's going on nationally. Between five and seven cities don't publish the data, news media have reported on higher response times. Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum calls longer response times an early warning sign that the staffing shortages are starting to have an effect. "If your house is being broken into and you need the police there in 4 minutes and they get there in 7 minutes, it makes a huge difference," he says.