Managing citizen calls to the police: the impact of Baltimore's 3-1-1 call system
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"Research Summary: Our paper explores the impact of implementing a nonemergency 3-1-1 call system in Baltimore, Maryland. We found a large (34.2%) reduction in 9-1-1 calls following the introduction of the 3-1-1 nonemergency call system. Many, but not all, of these calls simply migrated over to the 3-1-1 call system. Overall, we identified a 7.7% reduction in recorded citizen calls to the police post 3-1-1 intervention. This recorded reduction in citizen calls was confounded by an increase in high priority calls to the 9-1-1 system (27.5%), a large overall reduction in low priority calls (54.3%), and an estimated increase (perhaps 8%) in unrecorded calls to the police. We also note a small increase in response times to high priority 9-1-1 calls following the implementation of the 3-1-1 call system and virtually no change in the amount of officer time available for community policing or problem-oriented policing activities. Policy Implications: Our findings suggest that nonemergency call systems, such as 3-1-1, can greatly facilitate police efforts to better handle citizen calls for police service. However, the intrinsic value of nonemergency call systems is tightly woven with a police department's willingness to change dispatch policies (especially for those calls received via the 3-1-1 system), reallocate patrol resources, and adopt organizational reforms to support alternative methods (apart from dispatch) for handling nonemergency calls for service."
Criminology and Public Policy