Abandoned Calls Make Up 19% of all VicPD 911 Calls Over The Last Three Years
As part of 911 Week, VicPD is reminding Victoria and Esquimalt citizens of the simple steps they can take to help eliminate one of the costliest and most unnecessary wastes of police resources; abandoned and pocket-dialed 911 calls from cellular phones.
Analysis of calls received since 2010 shows that more than 27,717 calls to 911 were deemed abandoned. That’s 19% of calls to 911 received during that time period.
“With nearly one in five calls coming in to our centre being abandoned that’s a massive impact on our call takers and our resources,” Celine Degrasse, VicPD 911 Communications Centre Supervisor said. “We follow up on these calls, telephoning the caller back to determine if there is an emergency – that can be a distraction from actual emergencies.”
“Some of these 911 calls are legitimate,” Degrasse explained. “On Friday, April 12th an abandoned 911 call that was called back lead to a report of a weapon. While in this case there was no gun, there was an on-going confrontation that multiple officers were quickly able to attend before people got hurt.”
Deputy Chief Del Manak sees the impact that abandoned 911 calls can have. “They take away so many resources and they’re so unnecessary”, Deputy Chief Manak said. “Imagine running a restaurant where 20 percent of orders end up at empty tables. That quickly becomes unsustainable.”
With the majority of these abandoned 911 calls appear to be coming from cellular phones there are three easy things that can be done to avoid pocket-dialing 911:
• Lock your cellular phone before you put it in your pocket or purse
• Do not program 911 as a quick-dial number into your phone
• All cellular phones can dial 911, even without a SIM card. Do not give a child a cellular phone with a battery in it to play with.
Degrasse has advice for someone who accidentally dials 911. “If you accidentally call us, instead of madly trying to hang up, instead just stay on the line and let us know that you accidentally called and that there’s no need for help. It may be a tiny bit embarrassing but we’ll understand – and you’ve saved us the trouble of trying to call you back.”