ST. LOUIS (KTVI) — A St. Louis woman who called 911 to report an intruder Sunday night estimates she was on hold for several minutes with a voice recording.
“There’s no way a human voice should not be answering a 911 call,” she said.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, made the emergency call because an intruder entered her gated yard Sunday night and was trying to get into her home.
She said she negotiated with the intruder through a glass door. She said the intruder appeared “out of it” and remained outside the door.
The woman, who used two different phones to call, estimates it took eight minutes for her 911 call to be answered. She said she even messaged a relative to call the emergency line.
She said when police arrived, they discovered the suspect had a knife.
“I’m glad everything turned out the way it had, but it’s time to take action,” said the woman, who called the incident “a real wakeup call.”
The city’s 911 woes, including delays, have been an ongoing problem.
“St. Louis deserves an emergency response system that functions and works for them,” St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said during an August media briefing. “That’s why my administration is working to bring some needed fixes to our 911 system. We recognize it’s a problem that’s been festering for years and will not be fixed overnight.”
The city’s plans to improve the 911 system include consolidating 911 centers to reduce the chances of a bottleneck of calls from happening at one time. Currently, 65% of 911 calls are answered within 10 seconds, according to a city spokesperson.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said it is working to gather more information about the hold time in this most recent case, while a spokesperson responded with a statement that read, “The City is working actively to improve our 911 system through more hiring, technological upgrades, and restructuring.”
The woman in this case worries about what might happen the next time someone is faced with an emergency.
“911 is no longer my go-to,” she said. “And we have to take care of ourselves.”