Over 50% of 911 calls go Unanswered in Chicago
Data from 2021 shows the Chicago Police Department (CPD) failing to respond to 52% of high-priority 911 calls in a timely manner – that’s roughly 400,000 calls – because resources weren’t available.
Chi-Town Police handle roughly 1.3 million 911 calls each year and 60% of those calls are flagged as “high-priority.” High-priority calls include bodily injuries, major or imminent property damage, and situations in which timely police intervention is likely to change the outcome. Police data shows that before the pandemic and before the devastating impact on police sparked by the death of George Floyd, Chicago police adequately responded to roughly 81% of high-priority calls.
In addition to the high-priority calls, Chicago police in 2021 were unable to respond directly to:
- 49,686 domestic disturbances
- 9,458 mental health crises
- 3,386 reported robberies
- 2,427 suicide scares
- 2,951 court order violations
A time period in which police are unable to respond directly to emergency calls is known as a “radio assignments pending” or RAP. According to a CPD spokesperson, a RAP is “a range of time in which no dispatchable resources are available in the District/dispatch group.”
It can take police two hours or longer to respond to an emergency call during a RAP, which is declared over only after all pending calls have been addressed.
The number of RAPs to occur in a year increased by more than 130% from 2019 to 2021 as the number of active duty police officers in Chicago dropped from 13,251 to 11,638. Rates of arrest and prosecution are, as a result, down.
Dispatch audio shared by Wirepoints confirms Chicago residents waiting 100 minutes or more for a police response after calling in emergencies like battery/domestic battery, theft, shots fired, stabbing, and request for ambulance.
The Chicago Police Department has no available data on the average length of a RAP because this information is apparently recored on paper and is not catalogued.
Editor’s note: Can you imagine this? You have an emergency and you call 911 (a service you have paid for with your taxes) and no one comes. You could be dying, and maybe no one shows up at all.
A hundred years ago we didn’t have 911, we only had our network of friends. I guess Chicago has to be that way now.