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June 8, 2023


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SLCPD Sees Spike in Cell Phone 9-1-1 Hang-Up Calls

**Note: A media availability on this news release is scheduled with SLCPD and SLC911. See the last paragraph.**

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Police Department and SLC911 have seen a sharp increase in the number of hang-up 9-1-1 calls from cell phones prompting the two agencies to urge community members to be aware of mis-and-auto-dial emergency calls.

During a one-week period, between May 29 and June 4, 2023, SLCPD saw a 131% increase in cellphone 9-1-1 hang-up calls for service when compared to the same week in 2022.

Crime analysts with the SLCPD have not identified a specific reason for the increase.

However, at a recent meeting to discuss the increase, both SLCPD and SLC911 determined the increases are not related to technology associated with the Apple Watch.

Both SLCPD and SLC911 are aware of media reports about a recent Android update that may be contributing to automatic cell phone-based emergency calls, but that is not confirmed locally.

When a 9-1-1 call is made, SLC911 dispatchers must determine whether a true emergency exists and if the caller is safe.

Even if there is an accidental or misdial to 9-1-1, community members should stay on the phone and speak with a dispatcher. The caller should explain the 9-1-1 call was an accident and answer any further questions the dispatcher may have.

In some cases, an officer may still be dispatched to the phone’s address to verify no help is needed.

When a 9-1-1 line is left open or the 9-1-1 caller hangs up, SLCPD officers are automatically dispatched to the phone’s address. This can take a significant amount of time to locate the phone’s general area, search for the person, and to verify there is no emergency.

Generally, many accidental 9-1-1 calls occur when the phone’s side buttons are pressed in a manner that activates the phone’s emergency services mode. In many situations, callers may not realize the emergency function is activated. These dropped calls take time and resources away from actual emergencies.

For non-emergency calls for service, community members can call 801-799-3000.

A SLCPD PIO and the Interim Director for SLC911 will be available for interviews at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, 2023. Media interested in an interview should come to the Public Safety Building.