The proliferation of mobile phones has indeed helped people reach out to the security services at any given time. But it is creating some issues too. A recent study has revealed that the number of accidental calls is increasing every year with the increase in the number of devices with touch interfaces.
Such calls, commonly referred to as butt calls – calls initiated unknowingly when the user touches the phone in the back pocket or in purse – constituted 38 percent of the total calls handled by the 911 service during 2010 in New York City. These short calls, which extend up to 19 seconds, often raise false alarm and make it difficult for the operators to confirm if somebody is actually trying to get help or their butts simply calling in.
According to the figures, around 4 million butt calls flood the 911 service in NY City a year. Apart from raising false alarms, they also steal valuable time of the operators when another real call is waiting in the line to reach out for emergency help.
The report, which studied the number of butt calls made to the emergency service during 2010, found that the service handled 3,910,373 butt calls, way too higher than the 3,495,716 calls that needed police cars to be dispatched to handle emergencies.
The latest available figures – for the first four months of 2011 – show that butt calls have increased to 39 percent of all calls made to the 911 service.
New Yorkers, it’s time to keep your butts away from your phones, or they will end up calling the 911 people. Try using screen locking, for a change.