Report shows police response to several Seattle neighborhoods slower than target time

Jan 4, 2016, 1:44 PM
Seattle police, coronavirus...
(MyNorthwest file photo)
(MyNorthwest file photo)

The Seattle Police Department is missing its mark for response times in some areas of the city.

Police are not hitting their seven-minute response target for priority-one calls for portions of Northwest Seattle and Ballard, The Seattle Times reports. Additionally, certain types of calls are responded to slower.

It is taking police more than seven minutes to make it to the scene of priority-one calls for fourteen of Seattle’s 51 beats, the Times reports.

Related: Seattle neighborhoods start petition for more police

For more than 7,800 calls, it took police at least 30 minutes to respond, according to the Times. Citywide, however, police are making it to the scene within seven minutes of three out of five calls. The data comes from more than 180,000 calls over five years.

Priority-one calls include residential burglary, reports of gunshots, drug overdoses, suicidal person, domestic violence, and missing children.

The areas police struggle with are mostly within Northwest Seattle. Parts of Queen Anne and West Seattle are also seeing some slower response times, the Times reports.

Those areas with slower average response times can thank — at least in part – geographical restraints. Chief Operating Officer Brian Maxey told the Times that I-5 slows responses, especially east-west; he used 45th into Ballard as an example.

And it’s not just geographical locations that see slower response times. Certain priority-one calls don’t get responded to with the same urgency, according to the Times’ data. Less than 50 percent of missing children reports are responded to within seven minutes. Just over 50 percent of domestic-violence assaults and suicidal person reports get the seven-minute response, according to the Times’ data.

The department doesn’t just dismiss slow response times. It reviews calls with “exceptionally long” times, Maxey told the Times.

The slower-than-expected response times might help explain why neighborhoods continue to hire private security around the city. It could also explain why the petition “Make Seattle Safe Again” received more than 1,000 signatures near the end of 2015.

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Report shows police response to several Seattle neighborhoods slower than target time