One-in-five 9-1-1 calls for police not an emergency

E-Comm police call-taker Jefferey Ching’s message: non-emergency calls can tie up 9-1-1.
E-Comm police call-taker Jefferey Ching’s message: non-emergency calls can tie up 9-1-1.

E-Comm reached out to British Columbians with a month-long campaign between November and December 2017 to bring attention to the number of non-emergency calls tying up emergency lines.

During the advertising and social media campaign that included radio ads and posters on transit shelters across Metro Vancouver, E-Comm asked people to not let non-emergencies compete with real ones.

Using recent E-Comm estimates showing one-in-five 9-1-1 calls for police isn’t an emergency, E-Comm Manager of Corporate Communications Jasmine Bradley explained the reasons for the campaign in media interviews. “Anytime a 9-1-1 line is taken up for a matter that doesn’t require immediate assistance from first responders, it occupies that lifeline for someone who needs it for a life or death situation.”

E-Comm outlined recent examples of police matters at its centre that should have been reported on non-emergency lines, not 9-1-1:

  • Vehicle break-in that happened three days earlier
  • Motor vehicle crash with no injuries and the vehicle was driveable
  • A break-in that occurred 90 minutes earlier, with no suspect on scene and no one at risk

Police call-taker Jefferey Ching also spoke to the media about his experiences dealing with non-emergency calls received on 9-1-1 lines.  “I hope people will help us by taking the opportunity to learn more about the differences and to keep their local non-emergency numbers on hand if need be.”

Non-emergency numbers within E-Comm’s service area are available at nonemergency.ca.

E-Comm’s fall 2017 public education campaign asked the public to #HelpUsHelp by keeping 9-1-1 lines free for real emergencies.
These images from E-Comm’s fall 2017 public education campaign asked the public to #HelpUsHelp by keeping 9-1-1 lines free for real emergencies.