Measuring the Response Patterns of New York City Police Patrol Cars

by Richard C. Larson

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Summary of a 2-week data-collection effort conducted in 1969 with the cooperation of the New York City Police Department. The objective of the experiment was to determine empirically the operating characteristics of the radio-dispatched patrol force and related personnel in the Communications Division — the percentage of time spent on various activities, the response time to calls for service, the spatial distribution of the force, the dispatching algorithm, and similar issues. The experiment was planned to provide parameter values for existing mathematical models of patrol and dispatch activity, to help check the validity of these models, to provide information for the construction of more realistic models, and to generate recommendations to improve present operations. The discussion includes division-wide totals, 24-hour activity profiles, and a model for intersector dispatching. A mathematical interpretation and analysis and a summary of revised operating procedures are appended.

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