Victims of ‘non-threatening’ crimes such as burglaries, thefts, and simple assault in Chicago will no longer be visited by officers when they call 911. According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, the change came into effect on Sunday and also covers crime where the victim is “safe, secure and not in need of medical attention” and the offender is “not on the scene and not expected to return immediately.”
Chicago authorities are hoping the change frees up more officers to attend to the most serious crimes, such as serious assaults and murders.
Instead of sending officers, 911 dispatchers have been told to transfer the calls to the Chicago Police Department’s Alternate Response Section, which is staffed by officers on light duty. dispatched to handle less dangerous crimes. The measures went into effect on Sunday.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said that this dramatic shift would free up as many as 200 officers from compiling paperwork to being out on a beat.
McCarthy also said that unnecessary 911 calls – including reporting dogs barking and parents complaining their kids won’t eat their vegetables – are putting an unnecessary drain on the system.
He said that as it stands, Chicago officers respond to around 70 percent of 911 calls, as opposed to around 30 percent for other cities. The Sun-Times goes on to quote Chicago Deputy Chief-of-Patrol Steve Georgas, who said police forces throughout the United States are looking for ways to become more efficient.
Georgas added that he did not think the change will be difficult for residents to get used to.
“It’s a traumatic thing being the victim of a crime. This will be a little more convenient for them as well,” he said. “They’re still getting police service from a sworn police officer. But it’s over the phone, and it’s only in certain situations. Those officers are trained in what to ask. If certain things come up, they’ll be able to transfer that back over to dispatch, and we’ll immediately send an officer out.”
However, some Chicago aldermen suggested the changes will prove difficult to accept for crime victims.
Gumbumeprs, what do you think….would this be a good idea??