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Who’s Calling 911 In New York City? Butts Are

Cellphone pocket
Brave Heart, Flickr

Just about everybody who has a cellphone has accidentally “butt” or “pocket”-dialed someone at one time or another. And when this happens you just hope you don’t end up ringing an ex, or your boss at 3 AM.

But it turns out many of these inadvertent calls end up being directed to 911 — somewhere else you really shouldn’t be calling unless you have a real emergency. In fact, in New York City, 38% of all calls to emergency services in 2010 were accidental.

That adds up to an amazing 10,700 mistaken calls to 911 a day. Or close to 4 million a year.

And the problem isn’t just limited to New York. Last year the city of Evanston, Illinois reported 20% of all calls to its 911 service were accidental.

Should something be done to combat this scourge of butt calls, which take up a 911 operator’s valuable time? The only thing we can think of is a ban on concealed cellphones, which certainly wouldn’t fly.

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