There has been much discussion about the dramatic increase in the response time of the New Orleans Police Department to calls for service, which has tripled since 2010.

My reading of the data suggests this is not primarily due to the reduction in the number of officers, since there has been a similar fall in the number of calls over the same time period.

It is reported that the NOPD staffing was 1,525 in 2010 and 1,154 currently.

The number of calls for service is reported to have been 508,835 in 2011 and 326,452 through September of this year.

Assuming that the number of calls for service in 2010 was similar to 2011 (it was probably higher since it has been falling) and accounting for the three months of missing data this year, then the number of calls per police staff member was 334 in 2010 and is projected to be 377 in all of 2015.

This 13 percent increase in the number of calls per NOPD staff member over the past five years is unlikely to account for the tripling of the response time.

Russell Van Dyke

professor, Tulane University

New Orleans