According to statistics compiled by the Chicago Sun-Times, the 24th District, which includes the Rogers Park community and the 49th Ward, recorded last year the fastest average police dispatch time of all the City’s police districts.
The dispatch time is the time it takes for the City’s 911 Center to dispatch a police car to the scene of a crime after receiving a 911 call.
The average 911 dispatch time in the 24th District is 2 minutes and 36 seconds. The average dispatch time citywide is 4 minutes and 29 seconds.
These statistics do not always reflect how long it takes for officers to get to the scene of a crime. Dispatch time does not automatically equal police response time. Nonetheless, it is one of the important factors in determining how quickly officers respond to a 911 call.
The disparities citywide in dispatch times have led some community activists and aldermen to call for a redeployment of police officers to higher crime districts. Though I certainly support efforts to reduce the dispatch times in higher crime areas, these efforts should not come at the expense of police protection and safety in my ward. I would vehemently oppose any efforts to reduce the number of police officers in the 24th District.
Experts on crime and policing, such asProfessor Wesley Skogan ofNorthwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research, contend that simply shifting police officers to high-crime districts is not the most cost-effective way to reduce dispatch times. They suggest that the better and less expensive solution is to shift more of the nonessential calls to “alternative response.”
Under an alternative response system, police officers are not dispatched to “nonemergency calls” (see, e.g., a call about a car break-in that occurred hours before). Instead, a report is taken over the phone and police follow up later.
At this point in time, there are no plans to redeploy police officers from the 24th District. If that changes, I will let you know immediately.