You’ve heard the old aphorism before. ‘When seconds count, police are only minutes away.” Or this one: ‘You are your own first responder.” And then there’s this: “The problem with political jokes is that a lot of them get elected.”
Oh, wait. That last one was meant for another post.
Anyway, those old saws are oft repeated because, well, they’re true. When bad things happen, dialing 911 means — at best — waiting five to eight minutes. A lot of bad things can and do happen in that amount of time.
And depending where you live, the wait can stretch out much more. Here in Austin, it’s over nine minutes. In Salt Lake City, it’s 17 minutes. Seattle: 10.5 minutes. Fort Worth: 29 minutes. And those are the “official” numbers being reported. If you live in a more rural area, expect to wait even longer.
There are a lot of factors that have made response times climb in the last two years, including soaring crime rates, defunded police departments, and cops leaving urban police jobs in droves. In other words, more and more Americans are seeing reports of the latest crime statistics and undermanned police departments and they’re deciding they need to have the ability to defend themselves and their families.
Now, though, there’s another factor that’s sure to further slow police response times — the price of gasoline.
From the New York Post . . .
An Ohio police chief said Wednesday his department is being forced to cut back on patrols as gas prices surge above $5 a gallon.
South Zanesville Police Chief Mark Ross told “Fox & Friends” that he’s instructed his department to conserve gas by conducting “stationary patrols” in neighborhoods.
Instead of driving around looking for potential crimes, Ross said his officers will now just have to park their cruisers in one spot and shut off the engines.
“We’re not as visible as we normally want to be,” the police chief said, adding that the lack of patrols brought safety concerns.
Zanesville isn’t alone. There’s this from Michigan . . .
In a since-deleted Facebook post from last week, [Isabella County] Sheriff Michael Main wrote that deputies have been told to “manage non-in-progress calls, non-life-threatening calls, [and] calls that do not require evidence collection or documentation,” via phone calls rather than actual visits by the sheriff’s department. Main explained that the reason for this was because the county had “exhausted what funds were budgeted for fuel with several months to go before the budget reset.”
There are undoubtedly scores more departments just like these that are cutting back on the number of patrols to try to stay within their budgets as fuel costs skyrocket. They just haven’t made the news. Thanks
Barely affordable fuel means fewer cops on the streets and less visibility. That translates into more crime and longer response times. Which means, when the worst happens, average citizens are going to need to be able to handle the situation themselves.