Although Chief Al Curtis and I cut a lot of call types in the 1990s (such as funeral escorts, private property traffic crashes, barking dogs, lock-outs, most medical emergencies already dispatched to Lincoln Fire & Rescue, and others) the drop in CFS really didn't start until the early 2000s--long after those changes. Aside from privatizing downtown parking enforcement in 2010-2011, there really hasn't been any big change that I can think of in what LPD handles since the 2001-2002 peak.
Wanting to explore this phenomenon more closely last year, I got a list from IT of all CFS by incident type, and ran a comparison between 2002 and 2013. I just updated this for 2014 over the weekend in order to answer Deena Winter's question more accurately. Here are the incident codes with drops of more than 1,000 between 2002 and 2014. When applicable, I've linked past posts about things that might be contributing to these declines.
1,036 fewer abandoned vehicles
2,264 fewer false alarms
3,850 fewer disturbances
1,863 fewer forgeries (when's the last time you wrote a check?)
2,027 fewer traffic crashes
1,040 fewer suspicious person/vehicle calls
6,203 fewer parking calls (more than half of the drop was before privatization.)
2,802 fewer vandalisms
4,523 fewer theft and burglary cases
3,171 fewer miscellaneous other (a call type code that functions as sort of a catch-all)
In contrast, here are the call types that have gone up by 1,000 or more:
1,445 more mental health investigations
1,546 more suspended drivers
There are several other call types that have gone up or down, but those that have declined simply outnumber those that have increased.
You judge that by listening and watching. We know that public satisfaction with our services is pretty high, because we ask a few thousand people about that every year. I think we are able to produce this result with a lean police force because we are particularly efficient. We need to continue to listen closely to that feedback, and to keep an eye on our response time to priority 1 and 2 incidents--the things where time really matters--because geographic growth alone impacts that independently of workload.
Like every police department in America larger than Petticoat Junction, we have times during the week when the number of calls for service exceeds the number of available officers. And like every city, we prioritize pending calls during those rush hours, assisted by computer-aided dispatch software. A belated report of neighbors shoveling snow into the street can wait quite a while, whereas a crime in progress needs an immediate response. The queuing of calls is happening less today than it was in the mid 1990s, when LPD was at its busiest.
As calls for service have fallen, the workload has moderated considerably. It used to be common for several officers on the Southwest and Center Teams to crack into the low 100s in CFS per month. When's the last time you've seen that?
|click to enlarge|
Weird, but true. It can't last, though. That bar has got to start inching up at some point.