An increase in high-priority calls to the police seems to have added to the Dallas Police Department’s already lengthy response times and could put residents’ confidence in law enforcement at risk.

The Dallas Express has covered police response times extensively, periodically citing trends over the last year based on public-facing City data that shows response times across call priority designations and even for specific types of calls.

Calls to DPD are given a priority designation (1-4) based on the seriousness of the issue, with P1 calls comprising 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.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the average response time for P1 calls was well above the department goal of 8 minutes in 2023. It took officers 11.4 minutes on average to arrive at the scene of such calls.

Digging a little deeper into the data, one can see a significant jump in the volume of P1 calls last year. Some 39,435 P1 calls were made last year, marking a 4.8% jump from the 37,613 calls made in 2022. Child abduction reports, for instance, are designated P1 calls. Such incidents increased from 113 to 122 and took police, on average, 11.7 minutes to respond to. Calls about shootings also spiked, increasing from 1,264 to 1,321.

Calls about robberies in progress were responded to on average in 8.5 minutes, relatively close to the department goal. However, such calls drastically increased by 16.9%, with 1,118 calls documented last year compared to the 956 clocked in 2022.

In a recent editorial published by The Dallas Morning News, the news outlet’s editorial board opined that the lengthy response times threaten to undermine residents’ faith in local law enforcement considering the various measures the department has taken to prioritize bringing down violent crime by redirecting man hours away from less serious offenses. There are now online reporting protocols for several categories of crime.

“Those who have experienced a crime often want to see and hear a police officer to have their sense of security restored. The reality of police staffing, and the need to focus on high-crime areas, has led to this imperfect compromise. However, it will be difficult for police to continue to drive down crime and retain public confidence without also dramatically improving response times.”

As extensively covered by The Dallas Express, DPD has been suffering from a serious staffing issue, fielding only around 3,000 officers when a city of Dallas’ size should have closer to 4,000 on staff, according to a City report.

City officials budgeted only $654 million for the department this year, far less than other high-crime jurisdictions like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.