It turns out that the Houston Police do not consider responding to multiple reports of gunfire a priority. Not only do they not consider it a priority, they may not respond at all if enough people do not call, or if the gunfire has not yet stopped. Yeah, I know that seems somewhat silly, but it is what has happened twice at the same location this week.
Over the past weekend, I called the Houston Police to report four gun shots fired outside of a night club I was overlooking from the balcony of a friend’s building. It took approximately 12-15 minutes for the first squad car to appear on the scene. Another 4 minutes passed before an ambulance appeared just prior to the fire department (assumedly because they are paramedics as well).
There is a police station two blocks away from this particular night club – there is no excuse for this slow of a response.
It gets worse.
Two days later my friend called the police again. There was one man who fired 4 shots into the air. As people walked past him, he fired 5 more shots, then someone pulled up next to him a a vehicle from which they then fired a few rounds into the air. Another person joined them with a fully automatic weapon from which numerous 5-10 second bursts were fired into the air.
The first shots were fired at approximately 1:06am. The first call to 911 was made at 1:08am. We were told that they were already aware of the situation and snidely asked if we had any new information to provide. The call was ended. Another call was made to 911 at 1:25am exactly, since no police had arrived, even though they are two blocks away, certainly less than one quarter of a mile. Another call was made at 1:33am. Still no cops. They did not arrive until 1:40am. Since numerous individuals had called even before we did, we can say that the Houston police knew about the shooting at about 1:07am but did not send anyone for at least 33 minutes.
Thirty-three minutes after reports of shots fired flooded in the Houston Police finally was able to show up with a single officer. It was another five minutes before a second police vehicle showed. No arrests we made.
Imagine that you are in a situation in which you fear for your life and need police assistance as quickly as possible. What if these shooters were not shooting into the air but into the other club patrons? What if they tried to enter the building from which we watched this unfold? Would you really want to rely on this type of response?
No, I’d rather have protection at my side with the knowledge that I have at least a chance at protecting myself. The HPD might not be here for a while.