PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The average amount of time it takes for Portland Police Bureau officers to respond to 911 and non-emergency calls has more than doubled since 2016. 

According to data from the Portland Police Bureau, it took officers an average of 16.4 minutes to respond to calls in 2022. In 2016, it took them an average of 8.1 minutes. 

In 2022, the month with the longest average call response time was October when it took police an average of 20.4 minutes to arrive at a scene. In July it took an average of 19.1 minutes. 

The data PPB has available on its website dates back to 2012. In that year, it took officers an average of 6.3 minutes to respond. 

The average response time for the most part has been increasing every year since then. 

However, the sharpest spike began in 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a video PPB published in March 2021, the bureau said there are several factors that contribute to how soon officers may arrive on scene. 

Tracking response time begins as soon as an officer is available to take a 911 or non-emergency call and is dispatched to respond. 

PPB said if a call involves a violent threat, a weapon, or some other dangerous characteristic, more than one officer will respond. For example with a shooting, more officers will be needed to secure the crime scene and search for a suspect. 

In 2022, Portland recorded 96 homicides, a new record for the city. 

If several officers are occupied by a single incident, that leaves fewer officers available to respond to other calls. 

Travel time is another factor that affects how long a caller might wait for police to respond. 

According to PPB’s data, travel time has also been steadily increasing since 2012. 

In 2012, the average travel time for PPB officers responding to a call was 5.1 minutes. In 2022, that average time was 7.8 minutes. 

In the last couple years, PPB has attributed its slower response times and longer travel times to having fewer sworn personnel. The bureau said its limited staffing means that sometimes, when a call comes in, the closest officer might be several miles away. 

In December 2022, PPB announced that it now has 804 sworn members. It’s the first time in several months the bureau has had more than 800 total sworn members. 

Jeff Asher, a crime data analyst who formed AH Datalytics, recently reviewed 911 data from more than 20 agencies across the country and found that Portland isn’t the only city where response times are increasing. 

According to Asher’s research, New Orleans, Seattle, Nashville and New York City are a few others that have seen their average response times increase. 

PPB asks the public to remember to yield to patrol cars that have their sirens on to help ensure officers can reach the scene of a call as quickly as possible.