In the opening scene of the movie “Heat,” in which an armored truck was targeted by a gang of armed robbers seeking a shipment of bearer bonds, the thieves were meticulously careful to complete their task and flee the scene of the crime within a specific “response time” that it would take for the LAPD to respond to a 211 (armed robbery). How exactly did they know (or estimate) the response time? I’m sure that the LAPD’s response would involve some degree of coordination, as opposed to just having nearby patrol cars haphazardly head to the scene of the robbery, since if one or two cars were to arrive before the others the officers would have been overwhelmed by the robbers who were equipped with automatic weapons. That being said, is the process really so well choreographed that the response time is that predictable? It didn’t seem to me that Robert DeNiro’s character (the crew’s leader) was simply being cautious, since when Al Pacino’s character (an LAPD Detective, and the gang’s nemesis) arrives at the scene he observes that the robbers were so well disciplined and sophisticated that they chose to forgo cash and other valuables that were also in the truck because they knew the police response time to a 211.
I’m well aware that we’re talking about a work of fiction here, but whoever wrote the script seemed to be fairly concerned about accuracy, at least by Hollywood standards. For example, Heat stands out as one of a small group of movies whose writer(s) were aware that it’s necessary to reload during an extended firefight with automatic weapons (during the bank robbery scene), and a friend of mine who was in the military says this is the only movie scene he’s watched where the characters actually use authentic police/military tactics. This leads me to believe that there is at least some conceptual basis for the thieves’ reliance on a specific response time when planning the robbery. So, are there any law enforcement personnel or buffs here on the SDMB that can weigh in on this?