Police in Dallas’ 911 center are responding to car theft reports in a different way. In Dallas, there were over 18,000 recorded thefts of cars last year—nearly twice as many as there were just five years prior. It takes the city’s officers an average of 12.5 hours to respond in person to these auto thefts due to the dwindling police force.
Decrease In Violent Crime
In order to reduce the hours-long wait times to roughly 40 minutes, the department has started utilizing officers on light duty to accept the reports via a teleconferencing software.In less than three weeks, the department has dealt with 379 cases in this way, saving patrol personnel an estimated 682 labor hours.
Although auto thefts aren’t violent crimes in and of themselves, they are frequently linked to violent crimes, according to Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia in a recent interview. Despite more murders, Dallas had a decrease in violent crime in 2023.
“The majority of our vehicles that are stolen are used to commit other violent crimes,” Garcia stated. “There is more today than there was when I began 32 years ago. The relationship between violent crime and stolen cars is stronger.
Thinking Out Side The Box
He claims that as the department has lost officers, it has searched for ways to maximize the time it does have. “It can be doing less, but it’s also looking at different ways to do things, using technology to do things,” Garcia stated. “Trying not just to think outside the box, but act outside the box.”
Officers on the street are better able to identify a stolen vehicle the sooner auto theft reports are submitted. In addition to improving your chances of getting your car returned fast if you’re a victim, this lets police know when you might be approached by a criminal.