Slicing and dicing NYC Noise – NYPD’s average close out time

Number of service requests to NYC’s 311 from 2004 to 2017: 26.99 million

You call 311 at 10am to complain about noise.  Your complaint is marked “closed” at, say, 11am the next day. That’s 1 day and 1 hour to close out the ticket.  Pretty straightforward. While I haven’t looked at other agencies or complaint categories apart from noise, NYPD seems to be swatting down noise complaints at a furious pace. I had go back and stop measuring their close out time in days and change it to hours. And their average close out time for a noise complaint over the years is about 4.3 hours. And this is how it tracks from 2004 to 2017:

NYC Noise 2004 to 2017, by NYPD average closeout time

I guess I should have put a trend line through it to smooth out the wide gyrations. Maybe later. What is it, besides the obvious “w”  – a drunk walking home, peeing in the snow…  And below are the summary statistics for the hours to close out a noise complaint by NYPD.

NYC Noise, NYPD close out times - summary statistics

Looks like they have a bunch of sticky noise types that take a lot longer to close than half of them. For those who’d like a refresher – median is simply the midway mark in the counting. A median for all years of 1.69 hours means half of all close outs were less than 1.69 hours and half more than that. The mean is the average,  as commonly understand — you add them all up and divide by the count. In this case the mean was 4.29 hours. What do you do with the two? You can say that the half taking more than 1.69 hours are taking not just a bit more but a lot more time. In general, you want the two to be reasonably close. In this case the mean is 2.5 times the median.


311 data from NYC Open Data downloaded at various times. As of Feb 5, 2018, 27 million rows, 52 variables till 2009, 53 variables from 2010. Parsed using R v3.4.3 in RStudio v1..1.423