Category Archives: Public Safety

Driving While Impaired Arrests Have Been Trending Down for Years. What About Crashes by Impaired Drivers?

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How Much Did the 2021 Adopted Budget Reduce Spending For the New York City Police Department?

Last November Voters Approved an Increase in Civilian Complaint Review Board Staffing. Does the Mayor’s Budget Plan Provide the Funds?

Mayor’s Proposed Budget Seeks to Provide the Bronx with More Rapid EMS Response. Is Queens Even More in Need?

There’s a Call Reporting a Crime in Progress. How Long Does It Take for the Police to Send a Car in Your Precinct?

Although required under a 1991 law, the city does not publish data by precinct that tells New Yorkers how long it takes the police department to respond to a 911 call—from the initial call to the time officers arrive at the scene. What we do have on the precinct level is dispatch time, the minutes and seconds it takes for a police dispatcher to find and assign officers to respond to a possible crime in progress. We have mapped the variation in dispatch times in fiscal year 2018 for each of the city’s 77 police precincts.

Wide Variations in Average Dispatch Times by Police Precinct, 2018

Data in table form available here.

  • Citywide, the average dispatch time for roughly 450,000 possible crime-in-progress incidents in 2018 was 3.8 minutes. This was up from a citywide average of 3.0 minutes in 2014.
  • Average dispatch time varied widely among police precincts, with a low of 1.6 minutes in the 100th Precinct in the Rockaways to a high of 8.0 minutes in the 47th Precinct in the Wakefield and Woodlawn neighborhoods of the Bronx.
  • Across the city, nine precincts had crime in progress dispatch times greater than 5 minutes. Six of those precincts were in the Bronx.
  • The gap between average dispatch time in the Bronx and the average citywide has grown.
    In 2018, the average dispatch time of 5.6 minutes in the Bronx exceeded the citywide average by nearly 2 minutes, about three times the difference in 2014.
  • Two potential explanations for why dispatch times have risen more rapidly in the Bronx are undercut by some key facts. Crime-in-progress incidents rose less rapidly in the Bronx than in the rest of the city from 2014 through 2018. Moreover, the number of uniformed officers assigned to the Bronx increased more rapidly than elsewhere over the same period.

Print version available here.

Prepared by Bernard O’Brien
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: IBO mapping of dispatch data from the Mayor’s Office of Management Budget, Fiscal Year 2018 District Resource Statement for the New York Police Department
NOTES: For years the New York Police Department has failed to provide the City Council with quarterly reports on police response time disaggregated by borough, precinct, and the three daily police shifts as required under Local Law 89 of 1991. The Mayor’s Management Report presents dispatch time as well as the time it takes for the first squad car to arrive at an incident, but only on a citywide basis. The Citywide Performance Reporting site presents dispatch and travel time on a precinct basis, but has not been updated since 2016.

Of the More Than 58,000 Admissions to City Jails Last Year, How Many Inmates Had Been There Before?

Has the Decline in the Number of Inmates From the City Led to the Drop in the State Prison Population?

How Does Sick Leave Usage Vary Across the City’s Workforce?

The use of sick leave by municipal employees varies widely among  agencies. Uniformed employees in the fire, correction, and sanitation departments tend to use sick leave at higher rates than other city workers. Some of the difference is attributable to the type of work done by uniformed staff and the greater likelihood of on-the-job injury. Another factor may be the unlimited sick time provided to uniformed city employees. Sick leave usage by uniformed employees is a key driver of city overtime spending—a set number of workers are needed, for example, for patrol cars or fire and sanitation trucks whether or not the regularly scheduled employees make it to work.

  • The recently released Mayor’s Management Report for Fiscal Year 2016 shows that uniformed police and fire personnel on average use sick leave unrelated to on-the-job injuries at a lower rate than their correction and sanitation department counterparts. Excluding days off for injuries on the job, police officers and firefighters also use sick leave less frequently than civilian employees. Still, firefighters are the most likely to be absent when factoring in leave that stems from work-related injuries.

  • Sizable shares of police officers and firefighters (48 percent and 31 percent, respectively) used no sick leave of any sort in 2016. An additional 6 percent of police officers and 26 percent of firefighters only took sick leave due to on-the job-injuries. Conversely, 92 percent of correction officers and 90 percent of sanitation workers used at least some amount of sick leave for reasons other than being hurt on the job.

  • In all four uniformed agencies, a small subset of personnel accounted for a disproportionate share of sick leave use not attributable to line-of-duty injury. The top 10 percent of uniformed personnel in terms of taking routine sick leave accounted for at least half of all sick leave use in their agencies. Each of the uniformed agencies monitors sick leave usage to minimize abuses. Uniformed personnel who are chronically absent may be subject to home visits to verify their condition and may also face the loss of certain discretionary benefits and privileges such as eligibility for assignment to special units or commands.

Prepared by Bernard O’Brien
 New York City Independent Budget Office

Print version available here.

New York City By The Numbers

IBO Homepage

Do Courtroom Delays in the Bronx Come at a Cost to the City?

Suspects arrested on criminal charges who cannot make bail or are denied bail are detained in city jails while their cases are being decided. If the arrestee is convicted and sentenced to time in state prison, the period of time already spent in city jails is deducted from their sentence. Time spent in city jails comes at the city’s expense, time in state prison at the state’s expense. Therefore, the longer it takes to convict, the more it costs the city in detention spending that would otherwise be paid by the state.

The average time in city jails credited to inmates newly sentenced to state prisons from Bronx courtrooms grew to 15.7 months in 2012, about six months more than the average in the remainder of the city. If the average in the Bronx had been the same as that in the rest of the city, New York City would have saved about $14 million last year on jail expenditures.


Print version available here.

New York City By The Numbers

IBO Homepage