Don’t call 911 to report non-emergencies in Dallas, police say

Certain crimes in Dallas must now be reported online.

Dallas police said 911 calls will still receive immediate attention. But if it’s not urgent, the department is now asking people to make a report online.

The policy change is meant to free up officers to respond more quickly to true emergencies.

Things like car break-ins, identity theft, child custody interference, and other non-emergency situations must be reported on the Dallas Police Department’s website.

Chief Eddie Garcia said a report can be completed in 10 to 20 minutes and will ultimately help improve public safety in the city.

"These changes will further ensure that we are there when you need us most," Chief Garcia said. "As your chief, I want to assure you the investigative process for online reporting is the same as if the officer took the report at the incident scene. Those who need help can use our kiosks at police stations or at city hall."

The department is emphasizing that the online reporting system does not mean a lower commitment to investigating non-emergency calls.

There are kiosks at DPD headquarters and city hall for those without computer access. Computers are also available at public libraries.


Multiple calls to 911 from family with gunman on doorstep go unanswered for hours

A family building a home in Dallas says they feared for their lives as a man with a gun knocked on their front door while two others stole equipment at the building site. They say they made multiple calls to 911. It was nearly nine hours from the first call to when an officer arrived.

Last year alone, Chief Garcia said online reporting led to savings equal to 51,000 patrol hours or the work of more than 24 officers.

The department feels like the system will function effectively from day one. It’s been offered on a voluntary basis for the past three years.

Dallas City Councilwoman Gay Willis calls the move efficient. 

"I know that some people may be hesitant to make this move. But when you look at the numbers, the story becomes pretty clear that I really hope Dallas residents will embrace," she said.

According to Dallas police, online and over-the-phone reporting saved 51,000 patrol hours, which is equal to the work of two dozen officers. 

"I think it gives comfort to some to have an officer show up and take a report," Willis said. "The reality is that just becomes administrative. And so sending an officer to take down that information is not the best use of our time."

The change does come with the holiday week in full swing. 

DPD says you can still, of course, call 911 for reporting gunfire and 311 or 911 for illegal fireworks.