Q. If we call 911, approximately how long will it take an officer to arrive at our home?

A. If your call is an emergency, our goal is to respond in eight minutes or less. Many factors can influence response times, but factors such as traffic, weather and call load are the most prominent. The Dallas Police Department prioritizes calls for service and sets response time goals for each category. Priority 1 calls require an emergency response and include shootings, cuttings, felonies in progress and assist-officer calls. Priority 2 calls require a prompt response of 10 minutes or less and include major accidents, prowlers, 911 hang-ups, etc. All remaining calls are classified as Priority 3 (general service) and Priority 4 (non-critical) calls. At the North Central Patrol Division, our average response time for priority 1 calls is 7.51 minutes, down from 7.86 minutes for the same time period last year. Our average response time for priority 2 calls is down more than 10 percent from last year. We are working towards improving our response times and the delivery of service to our community.

Q. I’d like to know what percentage of thieves, car- and home-related, actually are caught?

A. In 2004, the North Central Patrol Investigative Unit cleared 14.3 percent of the residential burglaries, 13.5 percent of the business burglaries and 5.2 percent of the motor vehicle burglaries. An offense is cleared when the offender is arrested. While these clearance rates appear very low, they are comparable to other police departments in the area. Property crimes are very difficult to solve because there is usually very little evidence with which to work, and many times people cannot positively identify their property. We encourage people to document your valuables by either recording your serial numbers, etching your driver’s license number on your property, or making a video or written inventory of your property so that if you become a victim, you can identify your property when it is recovered.

Everyone can help by documenting your property and making yourself a “hardened target.” Follow the advice “Take, Lock & Hide.” When you leave your car, take your valuables with you, lock them in the trunk or hide them out of sight.

Don’t extend an invitation to criminals. Harden your target at home by keeping your garage doors closed, parking your cars in the garage and getting a neighbor to watch your house when you are away. Create the appearance that someone is home by leaving a few lights on and keep a radio playing.

Help your neighborhood by becoming involved in your local crime watch and volunteering to serve with the volunteers in patrol. If you want information about starting a crime watch or joining a VIP, contact your local police division.

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