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Dallas Officials, Experts Say City's Plan To Cut Violent Crime Is Working

Dallas police and criminologists say the city’s violent-crime plan is working, citing an 11.5 percent drop in the number of “street-level” violent crimes in the year after its conception in May 2021. Mike Smith and Rob Tillyer, University of Texas at San Antonio criminologists who helped develop the crime plan, told the Dallas City Council’s public safety committee that the first year of the crime plan provided police with information about what works and what strategies should be honed moving forward, reports the Dallas Morning News. The data compared “street violent crime” from May 2021 to May 2022 to the previous year. Street-level violence does not include all types of violence. Smith defined it as murders, robberies, and aggravated assaults that aren’t domestic violence. The criminologists said the violent-crime plan was primarily designed to target street violence, not sexual assault and domestic violence. Dallas has a different plan for family violence.

Residents said they’ve noticed the city’s commitment to curtailing violent crime, but said solutions go beyond policing. They say collaboration between police, the community and other agencies could still be better.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie García said the crime plan is still a work in progress. “We’ve had challenges and we’ll continue to have challenges, but we’ll meet those head-on,” García told the committee. “Reinvesting in places and people is extremely important. When crime goes up, it’s not just a police issue. And when it goes down, it’s a collective effort.” Overall violent crime from January 2022 to the present is also down, although by a smaller amount. Violent crime — including sexual assaults and domestic violence — is down about 4.25 percent, or 357 fewer offenses, compared with this point in 2021, but murders and robberies have seen a slight uptick. The violent-crime plan involves short-, medium- and long-term strategies: hot-spot policing, or heightened police visibility in about 50 small 330-foot-by-330-foot grids; place-network investigations, which try to disrupt criminal networks; and focused deterrence, which aims to change the behavior of high-risk offenders through arrests, community involvement and social services. Police haven’t yet launched focused deterrence.


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