A new poll suggests that the staffing shortage at the Dallas Police Department is having a serious impact on how residents feel about public safety.
Conducted by The Dallas Express, the survey revealed that residents feel unsafe in public spaces in the city and have a strong desire for an increased law enforcement presence.
Just over 57% of respondents said they felt more unsafe than safe “while in a City of Dallas public space such as a park, street, or sidewalk or have refused to go out … due to feeling unsafe.”
Additionally, an overwhelming majority of residents across all districts said that DPD needs more officers. A little more than 90% of people said DPD “does not employ enough police officers to maintain city safety.” Less than 7% said they believe Dallas has a sufficient amount of police officers to maintain public safety. Barely 2% indicated that they thought DPD was overstaffed.
As reported by The Dallas Express, even City officials acknowledge that more police officers are needed to address the spikes in crime rates being seen in certain categories of offenses. For example, DPD Chief Eddie Garcia suggested that car thefts have been skyrocketing due to a lack of officers.
“Staffing has always been an issue, there’s no question about it,” the chief acknowledged. “The city of Dallas is the ninth largest city in the country, and I have about 12 individuals assigned to auto theft.”
The City previously estimated that Dallas needs about three officers for every 1,000 residents, which would put the total number necessary to maintain public safety at around 4,000 officers. Currently, DPD fields fewer than 3,200 officers.
DPD’s staffing shortage comes in the aftermath of the “Defund the Police” movement, which came on the scene several years ago and has seemingly continued to affect police departments across the country.
The issue eventually led Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson to leave the Democratic Party due to its support in some cities for reallocating public safety funding away from police staffing and resources.
“Very soon after the whole ‘Defund the Police’ nonsense started, activists showed up at my house trying to intentionally scare my family, scare my children, [and] scare me into changing my very, very clear position that we were not going to do that in Dallas,” Johnson explained. “That really was the eye-opener in terms of — this party is really serious about protecting the criminal element over the law-abiding folks and that they weren’t really going to change.”
As reported by The Dallas Express, Johnson has since founded the Republican Mayors Association, which claims, “America’s cities and towns need mayors who will prioritize the needs of our diverse citizenry — well funded (not defunded) police and fire departments, expertly maintained streets, beautiful public green spaces, and low taxes on residents and businesses — instead of virtue signaling and wasteful spending on poorly conceived government programs.”
In defense of the Defund the Police movement, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza previously said, “When we talk about defunding the police, what we’re saying is ‘invest in the resources that our communities need. … Are we willing to live in fear that our lives will be taken by police officers who are literally using their power in the wrong way? Or are we willing to adopt and absorb the fear of what it might mean to change our practices, which will ultimately lead to a better quality of life for everyone.”