Dallas residents will be required to report certain offenses online instead of dialing 911, as per the new policy by the Dallas Police.

The Dallas Police Department has come up with a new way for residents to report certain offenses. Starting July 3, instead of calling 911, residents will be required to fill out police reports online. This change aims to free up officers to respond to more serious crimes.

The decision to implement this new reporting system comes as the police department faces an increase in high-priority calls and staffing shortages. Chief Eddi García believes that this change will help reduce officers’ workloads and improve their response time for emergencies, as reported by the Dallas Morning News (source).

During a news conference, García emphasized the need to consider the well-being of the officers and the constant demands they face. He stated, “We have to make the working conditions of our men and women better and, at the same time, not sacrifice the service for our community — and I think this achieves that.”

Under the new system, officers will no longer respond to calls for crimes such as motor vehicle burglaries, credit or debit card abuse, harassment through texts or phone calls unrelated to family violence, identity theft, reckless damage, graffiti, burglary of a coin machine, lost property, and theft and shoplifting under $2,500. Additionally, minor accidents where no one is injured and the vehicles are operable will no longer require police response.

The city of Dallas has seen a rise in violent crime at the beginning of 2023, following two years of declining rates, as reported by Fox 4 (source). Homicides were up nearly 10%, and aggravated assault increased by 15% in January 2023 compared to January 2022.

Chief García acknowledged the importance of quick response times in emergencies, stating, “We know firsthand in an emergency every second counts. We want our officers to be available to respond quickly and efficiently to any high priority call.”

For those who don’t have access to a computer or smartphone, the department has set up kiosks at police substations and local libraries where reports can be filed. Previously, a voluntary process to encourage people to report non-emergency crimes online failed, as people preferred having an officer physically respond to their calls. After July 3, individuals who dial 911 for an offense that requires online reporting will be guided on how to fill out an online report at dallaspolice.net.

The Dallas Police Department currently faces a shortage of about 500 officers, following a pension crisis in 2016-2017. According to Dallas Police spokeswoman Kristin Lowman, there are currently 3,023 sworn officers on the force, as reported by the Dallas News.

Chief García expressed the need for growth in the department, stating, “We need to grow and we’re trying to grow as quickly as possible. Our recruiting unit is working as hard as it can. But certainly, when we look at the staffing numbers where the city is today as opposed [to] when it was a smaller city years ago, those are obvious.”

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