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Updated: January 31, 2024, 8:42 PM

NYPD response times hit record highs of over 16 minutes as cops face dwindling ranks, ‘unnecessary’ paperwork

By Craig McCarthy

Police response times in the Big Apple have jumped to levels not seen in decades — as the NYPD’s dwindling ranks are being saddled with more and more “unnecessary” paperwork.

It took cops 16 minutes and 12 seconds on average to respond to a crime in progress, starting from when a 911 call was placed to when they arrived at the scene, over the first four months of the 2024 fiscal year.

That marked an increase of nearly two minutes, from 14 minute and 12 seconds, compared to the same time frame in the 2023 fiscal year, according to the Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report, which was released on Tuesday evening.

For calls of a “critical” crime in progress — such as shootings, robberies or burglaries — cops clocked in at 9 minutes and 40 seconds on average between July and October 2023.

During the same four-month period in the previous fiscal year, that average response time was about 30 seconds faster.

It took officers more than a half hour, 31 minutes and 54 seconds, on average to get to the scene of a “non-critical” crime, such as shoplifting, an jump of six minutes compared to July-October of 2022, according to the report.

City Council member Eric Dinowitz (D-Bronx) said the staggering delays can be chalked up to “duplicitous” record-keeping practices that have cops spending more time behind desks instead of responding to calls.

“We want our police our the streets keeping our neighborhoods safe we don’t want them doing unnecessary paperwork,” Dinowitz told The Post, as he called for the NYPD to modernize it’s record-keeping.

On a recent police ride-along, Dinowitz said he observed cops writing down information that they then needed to input into computers when they got back to their precinct.

“What I saw on my ride-along is they don’t need to do as much work to get as much data,” he said.

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.

City Hall spokesperson Liz Garcia said the increase “is likely driven, in large part, by increased traffic congestion across the boroughs.” 

Last year’s increase in response times came even as the NYPD saw more than two thousand fewer calls during those months in 2022, 104,710 vs 106,572.

More shockingly, the response times for the first four months of FY2024 marked the highest levels The Post could find in previous mayoral reports dating back to the mid-1990s.

In FY1997, the response rate was 9 minutes and 8 seconds for all crimes in progress and 5 minutes and 8 seconds for “critical” crimes, and “non-critical” crimes came in at around 18 minutes.

In the late ’90s, there were nearly twice as many major crimes reported each year than there are now.

The police force had more than 40,000 uniformed members at that time, while now its ranks sit at just over 33,500.

Cops have left the NYPD in droves over the last few years, with reasons ranging from being able to get better pay elsewhere or giving up the job due to anti-police sentiment.

And, due to the ever-growing cost of the city’s migrant crisis, the next fiscal year’s four police classes are expected to be canceled, which could reduce the ranks to below 30,000.

The overall response rate hovered at around 10 minutes until about three years ago when it began to jump by nearly two minutes annually, according to the reports, which provide an overview of all city services and is required to be released under city charter.

The shocking numbers come as the City Council has straddled the NYPD with even more record-keeping, forcing cops to log detailed information on nearly every police stop under the so-called How Many Stops Act.

“These new response time numbers are a sign that the NYPD staffing emergency has reached critical levels,” said Police Benevolent Associate President Patrick Hendry. “As our headcount plummets, it’s taking us longer and longer to respond to the most urgent and serious crimes in progress.”

“Our elected leaders should be working with us to tackle this crisis — not piling on new burdens,” Hendry griped, taking aim at the bill.

The controversial legislation was overwhelmingly pushed through by the council, which on Tuesday rejected a veto from Mayor Eric Adams, who derided the bill for forcing cops to do too much unnecessary paperwork.

Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) placed the blame for the rising police response times on the council’s overburdensome reporting requirements over recent years.

“If the council wants to own public safety, then they now have to figure out a way to make the public safe,” he said. “Long response times hurt all New Yorkers, especially in neighborhoods where crime is high.”