I’ve harped on response times quite a bit in this space because it is a critical determinant of crime totals and local trust in NOPD. As response times go up, crime is deflated. As response times go down, crime rises.
To see this in action check out the below charts of auto theft incidents over 7 days in New Orleans in 2016. The first graphic shows the number of crimes receiving a ‘Report to Follow’ or RTF disposition. This means either an officer arrived and found a victim that appeared to relate a real crime or the incident was called in and a report was taken over the phone.
From this chart you can glean that there was a spike in auto thefts around Mardi Gras, possibly a dip between mid-May and early June, and they are occurring slightly less frequently since the start of May compared to the first four months of the year.
Now look at the chart again with incidents marked ‘Gone on Arrival’ included. These are times NOPD reached the scene and nobody was there, either because the crime didn’t happen or because the victim has left.
It’s a pretty marked difference in my opinion. The spike around Mardi Gras is much more pronounced and the first chart completely obfuscates a large jump in auto thefts around July 4th weekend. Moreover, the general trend isn’t down, it’s about even for the year. Removing the GOA incidents totally camouflages the trends we want to analyze.
As response times worsen this year this remains an issue that deserves attention.