Police response times shot up year over year amid the Dallas Police Department’s crippling labor shortage.
According to the City of Dallas police response time dashboard, authorities logged significant increases across all priority call categories in 2023, with spikes in the number of high-priority calls putting a further strain on police resources.
Calls to DPD are assigned a priority designation (1-4) based on the seriousness of the issue, with P1 calls signifying serious emergencies, like an active shooter or a home burglary in progress. P4 calls are at the other end of the spectrum, representing “non-critical” incidents.
Last year, police response times for P1 calls took 11.3 minutes on average for officers to respond to. DPD’s response time goal for P1 calls is 8 minutes. Just under half of calls (49.6%) met the goal. In 2022, P1 calls took 9.4 minutes on average to get an officer on the scene, with 55.1% of calls getting met on goal.
On average, P2 calls took 106.5 minutes to get law enforcement on the scene. The response time goal for P2 calls is 12 minutes and under. Only 14.4% of calls received a response on goal. The year prior, P2 calls took 63.9 minutes on average to get an in-person response. Roughly 20% of calls were met on goal.
Dallas police responded to P3 calls in 522.5 minutes on average in 2023. The goal for P3 calls is 30 minutes or less. Around 20% of responses met the goal. In 2022, P3 calls took 368 minutes, with 25.6% of such calls meeting the goal.
Response times for P4 calls took 555.8 minutes on average last year. The goal for P4 calls is 60 minutes or less. Only 23.2% of police responses met the goal. The previous year, P4 calls took 419.7 minutes, with 29.8% of them getting met on goal.
A City analysis states that a municipality the size of Dallas needs roughly three officers for every 1,000 residents, putting an ideal staffing level at around 4,000 officers. The department currently fields only around 3,000 officers.
The effects of the police shortage have been felt in Downtown Dallas. The city center logs much higher rates of criminal activity than Fort Worth’s downtown area, which is reportedly patrolled by a special neighborhood police unit that works alongside private security guards.