How to improve response time

It took 20 minutes for Austin Police to respond to a deadly stabbing on January 3, 2020.

20 minutes.

Austin police said they received a call reporting a man with a large rock was verbally threatening people at Bennu Coffee on Congress around 7:50 a.m. When an officer arrived, about twenty minutes later, the suspect was being held down by customers inside.

Full story.

Last week I wrote about how taking (immediate) action saves lives. In that, I noted how the latest data I’m aware of put APD’s average response time at 8 minutes.


Which means your situation might take longer.

Like 12 minutes longer…

“According to Emergency Communications Standard Operating Procedures for Priority 2 calls, dispatchers should send the two closest available units within five minutes of the call entering the queue. This did not occur and is part of the internal review,” police said in a statement.

I’m not going to get too hard on APD, dispatch, 911, whomever. Everyone involved is human, and that means mistakes can happen. It means that sometimes things just won’t go ideally.

Twenty minutes.

Consider a recent Facebook post by the Austin Police Association wrote:

This comes at a time when the department has 180 vacancies and the city council is considering canceling a cadet class of 80 officers in June.

which is only going to serve to increase response times…

And when you consider the stabbing was only prevented from getting worse because people in the immediate vicinity took swift decisive action…

Truly, the only way you’ll see response times go down is to learn how to become a first responder.

(and ensure politicians don’t prevent or prohibit us from doing so).

Austin’s Increasing Crime and Increasing Police Response Times

I was sitting in the doctor’s office yesterday. On the waiting room TV was the local Spectrum News talking about Austin’s uptick in violent crime.

  • Murder — same as last year
  • Rape – up 4.6%
  • Robbery – up 37.3%
  • Aggravated Assault – down 12%
  • Total violent crime – up 1.7%

They also went back 5 years and looked at the total violent crime index:

  • 2017 – 4414
  • 2016 – 4288
  • 2015 – 3536
  • 2014 – 3608
  • 2013 – 3135

That’s pretty much a steady increase in violent crime in Austin.

The TV was on in the background. I was sitting and checking email on my phone, and a notice from NextDoor came in, with someone posting this article on how over the last 7 years APD response calls are significantly slower:

The Austin Police Department is releasing new numbers comparing response times between 2011 and 2017. In 2017, response times for P0 and P1 priority calls are nearly a minute and a half slower.

For P2 priority calls, officers responded about four minutes behind times in 2011. As for P3 priority calls, or those that are the least urgent, police reached callers more than sixteen minutes later.

Michael R. Levy, Former Chair of the Austin Public Safety Commission says he’s been watching public safety in Austin since 1976 and it’s never been this bad.

When you need the police, it’s taking them even longer to get to you. A lot of bad stuff can happen in a minute and a half.

What made seeing these two reports at the same time interesting was this quote from Mayor Steve Adler:

But he says doesn’t believe Austin residents are at an increased danger. “I certainly don’t think the public should just be looking at response times because Austin as we know is one of the top 4 safest cities in the country when it concerns violent crime. Property crimes are at a 20 year low.”

Top 4 safest cities in the country when it comes to violent crime.

Mr. Mayor, did you not see your own police chief’s latest monthly report on violent crime? I guess not.

Take this data however you want, residents of Austin.

Me? I suspect it’s going to get worse. Austin’s population continues to grow rapidly. It’s a tough time to be a cop, and fewer people want to get into the profession. And you can also see from Mayor Adler’s comments that there’s a bunch of waffling regarding budget. Not a recipe for success.

Folks: Austin’s still a nice city. But the hard reality is, things are getting worse. And you just cannot count on the police to be there – immediately or in a reasonably timely manner – to protect you.

Updated: Paul Martin discusses this article and topic in episode 25 (Feb. 25, 2018) of The Situation:

Teach them not to rape? Water control?

Three teens were arrested for breaking into the home of a young mother in Georgia — where they stunned her with Tasers, scalded her with boiling water and raped her in front of one of her sons, police said.

full story

If you want the full, vile, horrid details of what these animals did, click through and read the full story.

But really, the one sentence is all you need.

Imagine if that young mother was your wife/spouse/girlfriend/partner.

Your daughter.

Your Mother.


What is the solution for such things?

Teach them not to rape?

Boiling water control? Ban water? Ban pots and stoves?

Seriously. I’m seriously wondering.

I’m not saying the answer is “guns”. What I am saying is, evil people will do evil things – they will find a way – don’t underestimate the creativity of people intent on doing evil.

When someone next proposes a way to “stop crime” or “reduce violence”, consider if it will actually do any good – I mean, real good, not just feeling good and “doing something” (or that will only abridge the law-abiding and have zero impact – or even empower – the criminal). I’m only interested in solutions that will actually work.

Burglary of Residence Prevention Tips

In my neighborhood, one of the leads of the Neighborhood Watch posts periodic information about the crime in our area of Austin and how it can be prevented. His most recent post was on Burglary of Residence and some tips for reducing your risk.

Here are some helpful tips to help prevent home burglaries. Some of these are common sense strategies but sometimes we as citizens become comfortable in our surrounds and think it will never happen to use. This was my thought before we got broken into. Being PROACTIVE IS THE KEY. Doing these will limit your chances of being burglarized but will not prevent all burglaries. If someone wants to get into your home and they have time/means/opportunity, they will get in. Property Crimes are crimes of opportunity. Criminals have the means, they have the motive but let’s not give them the opportunity to steal from us.

1. Lock all of your doors. This means front, back and the door in your garage at ALL TIMES. Even when we are home. This will not give a potential burglar the opportunity to just walk in when they want when you or your family are home.

2. Dogs are the #1 Deterrent to a burglar. I recommend putting up Beware of Dog signs. Even if you don’t own a dog, put one up. The burglar will never know if you do or do not have a dog. They will just move onto another home. A Beware of Cat sign does not work 😉

3. NEVER open your front door to someone you don’t know. ALWAYS let them know that you are home by talking through the locked door and letting them know you don’t want any or turn of the front porch light when they knock to let them know someone is home. If you don’t answer the door and you just go about what you are doing, the potential burglar could kick in your front door or walk around the side and make entry through your back door thinking no one is home.

4. Put up a No Soliciting Sign.

5. Add 3” + Screws in all dead bolts and hinges on doors leading outside. Should be 3 doors. On the hinges just 1 screw in each hinge should be fine. Replace 1 screw for 1 screw, do not take off the whole door. Most screws are less than 1 inch.

6. Keep your front lights on at night. Motion activated lights are amazing.

7. Add cameras if you can afford. Being able to see what’s going on in front of my house and inside 24/7/365 with my Nestcams has been great. There are plenty of options today this one just fits my needs.

8. Trim your bushes so they are not too high. Bushes next to doors and windows can be hiding places for them. Trim your trees up 7 feet tall so you can see through them.

9. Keep your garage door closed at all times, this means day and night. This is a no brainier but garage doors are let open all the time by mistake. Again, if you accidentally leave the garage door open and you don’t lock that door leading into your home, now burglar has access to your home. Not a good thing at all. Some people leave there garage doors open all day/night because they have an “alarm” in garage letting them know if someone is in their garage. I really really discourage this! Even though you want it open and you are protected, what you are doing is leaving bait out for the burglars basically inviting them into the neighborhood. They just don’t hit one house they hit many. Please stop doing this and think of the whole community.

10. Use your alarm system if you have one. You are paying for it so use it. Put out alarm company sign in front yard and put alarm company sticker by front door and back door.

11. Let your neighbors know when you are leaving for a vacation. So they can watch your home while you are gone, get any packages left on porch, put garbage cans away, get newspaper or any flyers left on your door. All indicators that you are not home. Help each other out!

12. If you are on vacation set programmable Christmas timers you normally use once a year for lamps in living room or bedrooms to make the home look occupied while you are gone. This is easy and very effective.

13. Get serial #’s of everything you can of value and pictures if possible. If something is stolen and pawned now the police department can track that property if it pops up in a pawn shop.

14. Don’t leave wallets, money, jewelry or purses in plain sight. A burglar could walk by and peek in and see the valuables and make his move.

15. Put a pad lock on back gate. Very easy to do. I like using the Word locks rather than number locks. They are earlier to remember and your kids will remember as well.

16. Be wary people who you let in your home that you do not know. If someone knocks on your door and ask to use your bathroom or for a drink of water do not let them in or even open the door. If you do they could be checking out to see if you have a dog, if your door chimed when you opened it which would indicate a security may be active and taking a mental note of what you have of value. Just be cautious of who you let in your home.

17. Don’t leave whole boxes outside that say 75” Samsung TV or anything of value boxes. Just break them down into smaller pieces and put in your recycling container. Don’t put the cut up boxes in the big TV box by the curb. You’re telling the burglar that you got a new awesome big screen.

18. Add a lock you the Breaker box outside on the side of your house. If you don’t anyone can just lift the lid and turn off your power. Never good. See picture.

19. If you are being broken into call 911!! Sleep with your phone next to you so you can make that call. Do whatever you can to stay safe.

To expand on a few of his points.

Point 1. This above all things. Locking your doors and windows is the single best thing to help out. Too many stories of break-ins of homes or vehicles involve the owner leaving things unlocked.

Even if it’s just for a few minutes to walk down to the mailboxes.

Point 3. This is a big one. A lot of people prefer to not answer the door at all; no, it’s better to answer so they know someone is in fact home. But when you do answer, there’s zero need to open the door. If you have one of those new video/audio doorbells, that can be useful to minimize the yelling through the door, but yell away if you have to.

Point 9. People often keep their garage doors open when working in the yard. Does your garage have an electric opener with a remote control? Put the remote in your pocket while you work. You can then easily open and close the door, without leaving it open while you’re in the backyard working.

To that, if you park a car in the driveway or street but keep a garage door opener in that car? Don’t. If they break into your car, now you’ve given them a key into your home.

Point 10. This too. I see numerous people with alarm systems but they never or rarely use them. You don’t get to choose when you will be the victim of a crime, so do use the alarm system and get something out of that monthly bill you keep paying.

Point 12. Not only should you consider lamp timers, but you can go to Lowes or Home Depot and pick up programmable timer for your wall switches. I have these for the switches that control my exterior lights (e.g. porch lights), and they are semi-smart, able to keep the time and self-adjust for the seasons.  Thus they come on “at sunset” and go off “at sunrise”. Works well, and having it fully automated ensures they always come on (and doesn’t matter if I forget).

Points 15 and 18 are things we don’t often think of but matter. Do the cameras, video doorbell, alarm system, your internet connection (router, modem, etc.) that connects all these things so they can work, etc. you have run off electricity? Do they have battery backups? If the power goes out, what happens?

The locks aren’t necessarily going to be high security – I mean, if our fences are just 6′ cedar pickets, it’s not high-security anyways. But it provides additional obstacles and deterrents, reducing crimes of opportunity.

I admit, it’s sometimes a weary thing to have to live by the rules and take additional effort to keep some people from ruining your day. But these are small steps, most of which are “do it once and done”, or just small changes to our habits – but they do go a long way to keeping one’s life overall in a good place.

Unarmed does not equal Harmless

Next time someone starts to equate “unarmed” with “not dangerous”, tell them about Louis Campos.

[Louie] Campos and his younger brother were in line for the Vanguard, a bar on Fremont Street [in Las Vegas], when they were approached by two men around 1:34 a.m.

“One of them said, ‘What are you looking at?’ or ‘Do you have a problem?’ I can’t remember what his exact wording was, and then he struck my brother,” Drake Garibay said.

The punch was so severe it knocked Campos out and caused brain bleeding. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital, but he never regained consciousness and died Thursday.

“He got robbed of his life, murdered. And the whole thing is we need to get this out there to find him so justice can be served,” mother Joyce Garibay said.

Full story (h/t Marty Hayes)

People have this mistaken belief that just because someone is “unarmed” it equates to “not dangerous” or “unable to inflict harm”.

There are countless incidents that tell otherwise. Louie Campos is unfortunately the latest.

Unarmed ≠ Harmless

2017-04-28 training log

I tied a rep PR, but the bottom line: I’m stronger.

The workup today brought me to 6 @ 165, which ties a prior rep PR. Thing is, that was set back mid-December on what was my last set of my last cycle of a 1+ week just before my “end of 2016” 1RM testing. So it was a “peak”, if you will. But today? It’s somewhere in the middle of the full cycle, on a 3+ week. So it’s just work along the road, not the end of the road.

Maybe I only tied the PR, but bottom line is I’m stronger. And that’s really what matters.

Opted to use wrist wraps and a belt, to see how that fares for me in terms of helping with my pain issues. Pressing doesn’t normally have a strong problem, but if things are hurting it of course is slightly involved. I do believe it’s a help, and I will continue to use wraps for pressing, at least for now.

Dips didn’t happen. Couple of reasons. First, I picked up a copy of Wendler’s new book, “5/3/1 Forever“. I’ve only just started to read it, but Jim did mention push-ups as assistance work. It was on my brain thinking it might be good not just for pushups, but because it puts my body on the ground (makes me move more, in and out of positions), and it puts my hands, wrists, feet, toes, etc. into some stretched positions that I believe I should spend more time in for my general fitness. I wasn’t sure I was going to swap it in now but, when it came time to dip, someone was monopolizing the dip station so pushups it was.

Anyways, things rolled pretty good today overall. Arms are feeling alright, not 100% but good. Good progress overall today. I’ll take it.

  • Press (superset with pulldowns)
    • bar x whatever
    • 75 x 5
    • 90 x 5
    • 110 x 3
    • 130 x 3
    • 150 x 3
    • 165 x 6
    • 150 x 7
    • 130 x 9
  • Lat Pulldowns (pronated grip, to chest)
    • 115 x 12
    • 125 x 12
    • 135 x 12
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 12
  • Pushups (superset with shrugs)
    • BW x 12
    • BW x 12
    • BW x 10
  • DB Shrugs
    • 85e x 15
    • 85e x 15
    • 75e x 10
  • Front Plate Raises (all the way above head)
    • 25 x 25
    • 25 x 15
    • 25 x 12
  • Skullcrushers
    • 70 x 12
    • 70 x 12
    • 70 x 9
  • Hammer Curl
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 9
    • 45e x 7

BART takeover robbery

BART police are beefing up patrols at Oakland stations after dozens of juveniles terrorized riders Saturday night when they invaded the Coliseum Station and commandeered at least one train car, forcing passengers to hand over bags and cell phones and leaving at least two with head injuries.

The incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses told police that 40 to 60 juveniles flooded the station, jumped the fare gates and rushed to the second-story train platform. Some of the robbers apparently held open the doors of a Dublin-bound train car while others streamed inside, confronting and robbing and in some cases beating riders.

Full story

Shocking and scary.

You’re just trying to get home on the train, when your train car gets flooded with a mob of teenagers. They rob you, they beat you, and within seconds they’re gone.

You’re trapped, because there’s only a couple of exits and they’re all blocked by these criminals, these predators.

It’s crowded, and there are superior numbers.

Trost said police arrived at the station in less than 5 minutes, but that the robberies took place in just seconds.

When I read the article last night, there was a quote to the effect of “we’ve hundreds of miles of track and dozens of stations – we can’t have police everywhere”. The article seems to have been updated to remove that quote. Whatever the exact wording was, the message was clear: the police cannot always be there to protect you as there’s just no physical and realistic way.

Your life is in your hands. It’s well-worth acknowledging that reality.



Choosing to get involved – Do you know the full story?

Following up from yesterday’s article, Choosing to Get Involved, here’s a case illustrating why choosing to get involved in someone else’s problem can be problematic.

The gun incident happened last March. [Daniel Ray] Brown and his mother were eating near Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem when he saw a white man, screaming for help, being chased by two black men.

Brown… would later tell authorities that he thought the pursuers were drug dealers, or possibly loan sharks, and that the white man was in trouble.


According to Winston-Salem police, Brown “attempted to stop the struggle by pointing a handgun.”

One of the black men, Fredrick Morgan, testified that Brown pointed his gun at the group and demanded that the scuffling trio show ID.

When the three men wouldn’t listen, Brown fired a bullet into the ground a few feet in front of Morgan.

Daniel Ray Brown sees someone being chased by two people and screaming for help. Obviously the person being chased is the victim and the two other people are assailants bent on causing harm to the person they are chasing.


That’s obvious to anyone viewing this.


It wasn’t until after Brown had made a new hole in the asphalt that he learned the truth. The white man was mentally ill and had fled from two care workers. The chase was their attempt to corral him near Hanes Mall.

Full article (h/t Hank G. Shepherd)

Getting involved in someone else’s problem resulted in Brown being arrested and convicted of assault by pointing a gun and discharging a firearm within city limits. He also lost his carry permit.

And someone could have lost their life, because a gun is deadly force. Warning shots are not sound (and generally not legal) tactics – no matter what former Vice-President Joe Biden says; and they are still considered use of deadly force.

This is one reason it’s difficult to get involved in someone else’s situation. You often will not know what you are seeing unfold in front of you. What you are seeing is likely a mere sliver of the full story, and your decisions may well put you on the wrong side of the facts. Your involvement may make the situation better, or it may make it worse. No matter what the real story is, whatever you then choose to you, you have to live with the consequences of your actions. Mr. Brown now has a lifetime to have to live with his.

I understand a desire to “do something” and to help people. We generally want to right wrongs and see justice served. But in doing so, we have to tread carefully because once we choose to get involved, we’re in it and the consequences of our involvement are ours to live with. I’m not saying to not get involved – we each have to draw our lines as to what we will and won’t do, where we will and won’t get involved. What I am saying is it’s important to understand what you see may not be what you think, so consider that when you do make your decisions.


Ah, SXSW – you crime-filled fun-fest

So SXSW 2017 just started and a top headline?

Musician mugged, shot walking home from show during SXSW


What’s better? The article ends with this:

It’s not clear exactly how much crime is directly tied to SXSW, but a KXAN analysis of police records showed in March 2015, violent and property crime shot up nearly 50 percent downtown compared to the monthly average. Violent crime increased 20 percent in March 2016 from the same time the year before.

KXAN links to a slightly more in-depth article exploring the increase in crime:

That includes nearly 290 cases of theft downtown and 19 aggravated assaults.

Bottom line: SXSW comes to town, crime increases. But note, it’s crime generally localized to where SXSW events occur.

What can we learn from this?

Well, if we follow Farnam’s Law, it’s pretty simple to classify SXSW as a “stupid place” full of “stupid people” doing “stupid things”. And much of what happens goes on after 10 PM.

So regarding your own personal safety, take from that what you will.

Fight on 6th street – what can we learn

So it seems about a week ago there was a fight between 2 women in Downtown Austin on the infamous 6th street.

Of course, that’s not really news. But there is video of this particular incident, and from it we can learn a few things (i.e.: learn from the stupidity of others)

(h/t KLBJ-FM)

First, it’s 6th Street. There’s a high (no pun intended) chance that all involved are drunk or at least somehow inebriated/intoxicated. Always a recipe for success.

Also because it’s 6th street, it violates Farnam’s Law for personal safety: don’t go to stupid places, don’t hang around stupid people, don’t do stupid things (and be in bed by 10PM).

The video starts out with confrontation. Hard to tell what’s going on, but there’s ego investment, someone likely felt disrespected, and the only given “out” was to get stupid.

Instead of listening to friends and walking away, the ego investment continues, the disrespect continues, and punches are thrown.

As is typical when women fight, hair is grabbed.

Within seconds, the fight goes to the ground. Tho in this case, I’d say the fight went to the ground more because everyone’s drunk and has trouble with balance.

Some people try to break it up. Hard to tell if they are friends of the initial folks or just bystanders trying to break it up. Either way, smaller fights break out.

Eventually Austin Police show up and start pepper spraying. And boy, they empty their canisters, dumping a LOT of pepper spray.

And it doesn’t seem to stop anything.

You can tell there’s a little irritation on one of the people, but for the most part everything continues as if there was no pepper spray. Interesting to note is that none of the people involved seemed particularly determined.

So what can we learn?

  • There’s much wisdom in Farnam’s law.
  • Your ego and emotions can get you into trouble.
  • If you happen to get someone’s ego and emotions riled up, give them a way to save face, give them a way to exit (don’t corner the cat).
  • Getting involved in someone else’s business is a tough decision. Just note that someone else’s problem isn’t necessarily your problem, but if you get involved in their problem, for sure now you’re in a problem. Be certain you’re willing to accept the costs.
  • Pepper spray is a useful tool, but it’s not magical, it provides no guarantees.
  • Fights do go to the ground. You don’t always get to choose or control this. But if it happens, you have to deal with it. 
  • There’s really no reason to go to 6th Street.
  • There’s much wisdom in Farnam’s law (yes, it’s worth repeating).