From:  SPO David V. Crowder Jr.

Another question was raised. I mentioned calling 311 several times in my recent email referencing the vandalism. A neighbor wanted me to clarify when to call 911 v. 311.

If a crime or anything is "in progress" that means
you seeing it unfold right in front of you, call 911. When I was on patrol and 311 just came on line, someone heard an argument in the apartment above

They called 311 and left a message. 45 minutes later I received the call. It took me 10 minutes to get out there. Thankfully she was not seriously hurt. If that person had called 911 I would have gotten there in time
to arrest the suspect. He later had
a warrant for his arrest and was apprehended trying to go back to the apartment. 311 can put you on hold, or ask you leave a
message, and in an emergency seconds are precious.

311 is used after the crime already occurred or to report
non police (city) matters. You come
home from the movies and you notice someone had smashed out the driver’s side window and stole you lap top
computer. Call 311 to make the report. Now
if you come home and you see your front door was kicked open. I would
call 911, because you do not know if the suspect(s) are still inside.

The city matters I referred to are things like reporting graffiti
to be removed. To report a
street light out, and things like that.

SPO David V. Crowder Jr. #4398
Austin Police Department
Central West Area Command
District Representative