Staffing shortages within the City of Dallas Police Department are continuing to cause increased response times.
Calls to the Dallas Police Department (DPD) are assigned a priority rating of 1-4 based on the seriousness of the call. Priority 1 (P1) calls signify serious emergencies, like an active shooter or a robbery in progress, while Priority 4 calls represent non-critical incidents.
The Dallas Express reported that according to the DPD dashboard, police are taking 11.3 minutes on average to respond to P1 calls. In DPD’s South Central Division, P1 call responses take an average of 13.8 minutes. Last year, the citywide average response time for P1 calls was 9.4 minutes.
Priority 2 (P2) calls include incidents like robberies, criminal assaults, major accidents, and in-progress auto thefts. Last year, the average response time was 63.9 minutes for P2 calls.
However, this year, it is taking 107.9 minutes on average for police to respond to these calls.
Priority 3 calls—which include random gunfire and burglaries—take 555.3 minutes on average for police to respond. Last year, the average response time was 369.1 minutes.
Priority 4 calls average about 587.1 minutes to respond to, while the average response in 2022 was 420.7 minutes.
Texas Scorecard recently reported on the rising crime in downtown Dallas that can be attributed at least in part to a police shortage.
The Dallas Police Department has been maintaining fewer than 3,200 officers.
According to a city analysis, a municipality the size of Dallas should have a staffing level of around 4,000 officers.
The City of Austin is currently experiencing similar issues with its response times and staffing shortages following city actions taken in the wake of the “defund the police” movement.
Prior to the Texas Department of Public Safety deployment throughout the city of Austin this year, in District 3 of the city—which reported the highest number of emergency calls—the average response time was listed at 8 minutes and 17 seconds from March 2022 to March 2023.
The average emergency response time between all 10 council districts was 9 minutes and 34 seconds from March 2022 to 2023. After DPS intervened, the average response time dropped to 8 minutes and 44 seconds.
Staffing shortage have significantly affected response times in Dallas and Austin. Compared to Fort Worth’s City Center, which has a dedicated neighborhood police unit that works alongside private security guards, higher crime rates are continuing to be reported in Dallas and Austin.