One of the most important responsibilities of local law enforcement agencies is to keep the cities safe. What is safety? Safety should not be interpreted in the narrow terms of keeping a city free of crime and lawlessness. Safety also means that citizens should feel safe in their homes and must have access to emergency services in distress. This distress can be caused by physical, mental, environmental, and social factors. In simple terms, everyone must have access to a hotline number for various emergency services (police, ambulance, doctors, fire department, animal care, etc).
Call 911 for emergency services
In North America, you can call 911 to get to emergency services. Usually the operator picks up the phone and says 911. Please state the nature of your emergency. You must quickly state why you are calling and give as much information as possible. This enables the operator to take the right action within a few seconds.
What are the different types of crime?
If you are in trouble the local agencies are there to help. United States, for that matter has a very good system of responding to an emergency. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) the crime rate in United States is determined by the violent crime index and the property crime index (please see figure below).
In addition to violent and property crimes, you can also call 911 if you need urgent medical help and are in a life-threatening situation. The operator will immediately ask the nature of your medical emergency and send an ambulance and medics to your location.
What happens when I call 911?
This is what happens when you call 911. If you are facing a very difficult situation like fire in the house, break-in, kidnapping, or other event where you only have few seconds to contact the emergency services, try to use the landline otherwise call from your mobile phone. The advantage of calling from a landline is that you will not have to communicate your location to the PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point). Addresses linked to landlines flash on their screens very quickly.
Ensure your own safety
- Research suggests that there is more crime in the economically disadvantaged areas. Study the area where you intend to rent/purchase a home before moving to the United States. Move to an area that is safe for your family and has a lower crime rate.
- Be vigilant about your surroundings. Make mental notes of suspicious persons or vehicles and then call 911.
- Be careful in making calls for emergency services and make sure that you do not hang up even if you dial the number by mistake. If you hang up on the operator, you will get a call within a few seconds and the operator will ask if you are all right.
- India has a country code +91. Often people making calls to New Delhi via a VoIP (with area code 011/11) make a mistake of calling 911. Please do not make this mistake. The time the operator spends on ensuring that you are safe can be spent on another caller actually in distress!
The goal of emergency services is to direct the right resources at the right place and at the right time to a caller who is in trouble. You can call the emergency number if you are in a situation where you need immediate help.
**If you are calling from a GPS enabled mobile phone your location may flash on the operators screen. However, it is best to tell your location to the operator as this tracking system is not full proof yet.