Law \ Legal

Rape 911 Calls Routinely Downgraded to Non-Emergencies In New Orleans

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This year, nearly 100 rape reports in New Orleans were almost immediately downgraded from emergencies, forcing the victims to wait for hours for police or fail to meet with officers at all, WWL-TV and The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate report. Advocates and authorities are concerned that the prolonged delays harm rape survivors and decrease the chance that the reports will be investigated. The changes come during a staffing shortage at the department, where the number of officers has fallen to 950 officers from 1,300. So far 98 aggravated rape reports have been downgraded from emergencies to non-emergencies this year, accounting for 40 percent of the total.

Some rape complaints may have been downgraded because they weren’t considered an immediate danger, according to dispatch call logs. On the other hand, a caller to police on June 27 told 911 that she had been raped and that her assailant was currently following her. The dispatcher didn’t contact the sex crimes unit until four hours after the initial call, according to the report. The case was marked “gone on arrival” by that point.

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