You may be the first responder

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Response times clock - to postNational average police response times for 911 calls reporting a violent crime range from a low of four minutes to more than 10 minutes according to United States Justice Department data. The average interaction between a criminal and his victim is 90 seconds so, even if your local police department arrives just four minutes after a 911 emergency call, that’s still two and a half minutes after the criminal has done his deed and left the scene.

The newspaper in my home town reported police response times increased from 5 minutes and 23 seconds in 2011 to 6 minutes and 7.8 seconds in 2015.

According to this report, police response times exceed 14 minutes in some cities. If you live or work in a rural area, average response times are typically much longer than in urban areas due to greater distances and fewer officers per square mile.

Sometimes the police don’t even answer the call. According to another report in my local paper a man dialed 911 to report an intruder in his garage. He hung up after the call rang 20 times with no answer.

When crime happens to you, you really are the first responder. That’s why it is increasingly important to take responsibility for your own security at home, at work, in public places – everywhere.


Paul Soutar