The relentless targeting of vehicles in Downtown and Uptown Dallas by thieves has left residents feeling frustrated and unsafe.

Vehicle-related crime has been on the rise nationwide since the COVID-19 lockdowns. However, certain parts of Dallas have become synonymous with motor vehicle theft and break-ins.

“I feel unsafe, and we’d for sure like to move from this place, although we love this place,” Felicia Hansel told NBC 5 DFW, referring to her home in West Village’s Thirty377. The Uptown apartment complex, which is located in Council Member Paul Ridley’s District 14, has seen about 60 vehicle break-ins, Hansel estimated.

Her own car, a 2021 Kia Forte, was stolen in January. It was later recovered but needed repairs to the steering column and ignition.

“It is very frustrating … [thieves] love this place,” she added.

Thirty377 residents have already had meetings with management about boosting security measures, such as surveillance cameras and other forms of monitoring.

According to data from the City of Dallas crime analytics dashboard, there had been 174 reports of motor vehicle theft and 187 reports of vehicle break-ins as of February 12 in Sectors 120 and 130, which comprise Uptown and Downtown Dallas. This represents 9.3% and 13.9% of citywide reports made of both types of crime, respectively.

Last year, vehicle-related crimes soared, especially motor vehicle theft, which reached a staggering total of 18,840 reports for a 40.5% hike from 2022.

As Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia explained in an interview last year with CBS News Texas, not only is motor vehicle theft notoriously difficult to solve, DPD has just 12 officers assigned to auto theft, leaving them with a crippling workload.

DPD fields only around 3,000 officers despite a City report calling for closer to 4,000 to adequately meet public safety needs. To try and speed up the auto theft reporting process amid these staffing strains, a new procedure was rolled out last year in which limited-duty officers would make first contact with vehicle owners via video call and fill out the necessary reports to get plates entered more quickly into the database, as covered by The Dallas Express.

Yet DPD’s issues will likely persist into the coming year, with City officials budgeting the department just $654 million this fiscal year. This represents considerably lower spending levels on police operations than those seen in other high-crime municipalities, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Comparative studies between Fort Worth’s city center, which is patrolled by a specialized neighborhood police unit working alongside private security guards, and Downtown Dallas show that the latter routinely outpaces the former in criminal activity.

Conducted each month by Metroplex Civic & Business Association (MCBA), these studies show considerably higher rates of motor vehicle thefts, assault offenses, drug violations, and car burglaries in Downtown Dallas and yet might not even account for the crimes that go unreported due to slow police response times, as MCBA CEO Louis Darrouzet suggested recently.