I-Team fact checks SFPD response times after residents express concern

According to data, the average time it takes for police to respond to priority A calls in 2023 is around eight minutes.

Stephanie Sierra Image
Tuesday, June 20, 2023
I-Team fact checks SFPD response times after residents express concern
I-Team fact checks San Francisco Police Department's response times after Pier 39 car-to-car shooting leaves 6 injured.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- More than 20 rounds were fired during Sunday's dual-car shootout along San Francisco's Embarcadero that left six people injured. The I-Team fact-checked police response times after residents expressed concern.

According to police, shots rang out from two cars "recklessly" racing along the Embarcadero just before 7 p.m. Sunday. The first shooting took place at Stockton and Beach St. near Pier 39 and the second shooting happened minutes later on Howard St. along the Embarcadero.

One bystander who saw it unfold near Pier 39 told ABC7 he felt the police response was too slow.

VIDEO: Heart-stopping dashcam video shows car-to-car gun battle near San Francisco's Pier 39

A new video recorded by a dashcam on Sunday night, just blocks away from Pier 39, shows the terrifying moments when gunshots rang out.

"There's a person with a gun shooting at people everywhere," the man said. "They were not prepared for this shooting."

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott says officers arrived on scene within four minutes - which is half of their target response time. Dashcam video sent to the I-Team confirmed that timeline.

According to ABC7's data analysis, the average time it takes for police to respond to priority A calls in 2023 is around eight minutes. Priority A calls are life-threatening emergencies like active shooters or any situation that puts lives in imminent danger.

To put that in perspective, public records show last year the average police response time for priority A calls was 9.1 minutes - one full minute over the target response time.

INTERACTIVE: Take a look at the ABC7 Neighborhood Safety Tracker

"This was a pretty significant series of crime scenes," Chief Scott said during Sunday's press conference. "You have a lot of people calling from different locations."

Chief Scott told the I-Team the response times to both shooting locations may have varied because it takes around two minutes to get between each scene.

"Whether they went to the point where this started and ended up here, that takes time," said Chief Scott. "You can imagine, just a mile of chaos."

ABC7's analysis of fire scanner traffic shows fire and medical personnel were on scene within four minutes and 30 seconds of the first 911 call. But between the two scenes, medical response times did vary. For example, records show medics were on scene within one minute to respond to the pedestrian crash near Pier 39. But records show it took 11 minutes for medics to arrive to the SUV crash near Howard St.

MORE: SF residents question police response times after weekend sideshows wreak havoc

"I timed it at 13 minutes for medics to arrive," said David Osgood, who watched the scene unfold from his high rise along Howard St. "I mean six people were hurt, I think 13 minutes is a bit long. That's almost a quarter of an hour."

Osgood says he tried to call 911 but got no answer.

"It raises the question what would happen during a serious catastrophic event where dozens, hundreds are hurt?" he said. "We need to be prepared."

Chief Scott added fire and medical crews couldn't enter either scene Sunday night until police secured the area - which may have added to those response times.

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