Chicago Odds of Response to a 911 Call Under 50%

In Chicago in 2023, more than 1,800 calls were made to 911 of a person being shot. Only about 800 – fewer than half – were responded to immediately by police officers. The other 1,000 callers were victims of 911 backlogs, where no police were available at the time of the call. Those victims had to wait half an hour, an hour, or even several hours for the 911 call backlog to end and for police to finally arrive.

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It was the same for the 32,000 911 calls of an assault in progress, where police were only immediately available for 50% of those calls. And it was the same for 54% of the city’s 911 calls of 35,000 batteries in progress. 

In all, there were 783,000 high-priority 911 calls in 2023. For 437,000 of those calls, or 56%, long periods of backlogs meant there were no police immediately available. Wirepoints obtained the 911 call and response data directly from the Chicago Police Department via FOIA.

The fact that it’s essentially a 50/50 chance as to whether officers show up promptly for a violent crime should be horrifying to the residents of Chicago. In part, sources tell us it’s an operational and logistics problem. It’s also a staffing problem – the number of beat cops in the city are down nearly 20% compared to 2019.

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