When the Dallas Police Department brought on Eddie Garcia as chief a year ago, his mandate was clear: Reduce violent crime. Between 2018 and the end of 2020, violent incidents had risen almost 22 percent citywide in Dallas, which anchors the nation's fourth-largest metropolitan area Other U.S. cities were reporting shocking homicide figures, a confounding aberration after three decades of a nationwide crime decline. Garcia and other officials in the city of 1.3 million followed a different model from the one emerging out of other big cities like New York and San Francisco, which have doubled down on expanding their police presence. Garicia says flooding the streets with cops isn’t a long-term solution, reports Bloomberg City Lab.
Working with criminologists and crime data, the department crafted a plan to tackle violent crime that deploys resources far beyond the police department. The strategy sends officers to tiny targeted areas that are hot spots for violent crime with a focus on pursuing the most serious offenses. That’s the “only part of the plan that is police-centric,” according to Garcia. The goal is a wide-ranging collaboration between city agencies to address apartment complex-specific issues like blight, lighting, park access and homelessness, and a push to engage individuals who are at a high risk of being a victim of a crime or perpetuating one themselves, through initiatives like violence interrupter programs. “This plan, like any plan, cannot be all about police,” Garcia said. “They’re an absolute integral part of the plan but there are other organizations and other groups that will need to help in order to sustain the positivity.” At the end of 2021, months after the effort was finalized, Dallas’s murder rate dropped 13 percent compared to the last year, while arrests were down more than 11 percent..