Motor vehicle thefts in Downtown Dallas saw a significant year-over-year increase in 2023 as the Dallas Police Department continues to grapple with a longstanding staffing shortage.

According to the City of Dallas crime analytics dashboard, there were 959 motor vehicle thefts reported last year in DPD’s Sector 130, which comprises the Downtown Historic District and the Victory Park area. The sector, geographically speaking, is represented roughly evenly by Council Members Jesse Moreno (District 2) and Paul Ridley (District 14).

The 959 documented incidents recorded here mark a 41.7% increase over the 677 logged in 2022.

Dallas is notorious for the number of vehicles stolen in its city limits, clocking a record high last September of more cases than every other city in the metroplex combined, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

In a statement to The Dallas Express, DPD senior public information officer Jesse Carr said the department has been striving to develop new ways to better combat the problem.

“In December, the Dallas Police Department began a trial period of utilizing limited-duty police officers to complete stolen vehicle reports over recorded video calls,” Carr said. “In addition to better response times for our residents, utilizing the video call will allow DPD to enter a stolen vehicle into NCIC faster, allowing our officers to know a particular vehicle is stolen, improving officer safety, and to hopefully recover the vehicle faster.”

“Property crimes, as you are aware, are crimes of opportunity which require a many-sided solution. We are using every resource we have to make an impact and protect property for our community and visitors to the city of Dallas,” Carr added.

Speaking with CBS News Texas back in October of last year, Police Chief Eddie Garcia bemoaned the staffing situation at the department.

“Staffing has always been an issue, there’s no question about it. The city of Dallas is the ninth largest city in the country, and I have about 12 individuals assigned to auto theft,” he said.

DPD has been hampered by the officer shortage, with only around 3,000 officers currently on duty. A City analysis advises roughly 4,000 are needed to properly maintain public safety and get police response times to reasonable levels. The officer shortfall is most apparent in Downtown Dallas, which regularly logs far more criminal activity than Fort Worth’s city center. A dedicated special police unit and private security guards patrol the latter.

Not helping matters is a budget of only $654 million allotted to DPD this year by Dallas city officials electing to spend much less than other high-crime jurisdictions, like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Additionally, black and Hispanic individuals have been bearing the brunt of the city’s crime problem, finding themselves drastically overrepresented among violent crime victims.

The Dallas Express, The People’s Paper, believes that important information about the city, such as crime rates and trends, should be easily accessible to you. Dallas has more crime per capita than hotspots like Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York, according to data from the FBI’s UCR database.

How did your area stack up on crime? Check out our interactive Crime Map to compare all Dallas City Council Districts. Curious how we got our numbers? Check out our methodology page here.