Before this week, Dallas residents hoping to file a police report had a couple of options. If they had the time after, say, their house was burglarized, they could call 911 and have the Dallas Police Department come to their home to take their report. The only hope for a quicker report was a phone call to the department, which would have someone take it over the phone.
Now there's a third way. Starting this week, residents who want to report a burglary, some graffiti, criminal mischief or identity theft can do so on DPD's website.
Once the report is filed, DPD personnel will check it to make sure it has all the information the department needs. If it does, an official police report will be emailed back to the person filing the report. If the report is missing information, it will be bounced back to the person who filed it. Duplicates and reports of things that aren't crimes will be rejected.
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At a press conference Tuesday, Assistant Chief Angela Shaw said the primary purpose of the new system was to make things easier for people looking to file reports.
There's a clear secondary benefit to the department, however. Every time an officer has to respond to a call to take a report, Shaw said, it takes the officer around an hour. Each report filed online means an hour of officer time that can be used responding to a higher priority call. As the department has struggled with high levels of attrition over the last three years, it's struggled to keep response times down.
DPD also believes the new system will result in a higher number of crimes being reported.
The department has been working on the new system, which was police Chief U. Renee Hall's idea, according to Shaw, for over a year.