Nearly 90% of the 999 calls made in Dumfries and Galloway have been found not to be genuine emergency calls.
About 90% of 999 calls are not emergencies
Out of 10,627 calls received between April 2005 and March this year about 9,000 were inappropriate or hoax calls.
The region's police force is urging people to think carefully before dialling the emergency number.
A spokesman said hoax callers could be traced and prosecuted while non-emergencies would simply be directed to another number.
Acting Sgt Alan McGowan said: "People who dial 999 when it is not an emergency or make hoax calls could be preventing a genuine emergency call being answered.
"The statistics show that almost 90% of our calls received were not emergency.
"Time-wasters have called 999 asking for telephone numbers and even travel directions.
"Most people know that examples such as this are not deemed as an emergency and could be preventing the police from attending a serious crime.
"If people are consistently found to be making such calls, then they could find themselves in court.
He said the public should only call 999 where there is danger to life, risk of serious injury, a crime is in progress or an offender is still at the scene of the crime or nearby.
"Phoning 999 for routine matters will not result in an improved service to the caller, who will be requested to ring back on the non-emergency number," Acting Sgt McGowan added.
People reporting a crime or seeking advice in a non-emergency situation should telephone 01387 252112, or by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.