City Hall

Mayor Has ‘Concerns’ About New DPD Crime Reduction Plan

Dallas Police officers assist in a homeless encampment sweep late in 2019. A KPMG report has questioned the department's allocation of resources.
Dallas Police officers assist in a homeless encampment sweep late in 2019. A KPMG report has questioned the department's allocation of resources. hie
Updated Friday 11:10 a.m.

The Dallas Police Department promised to implement a "data-driven approach to reduce violent crime" and laid out crime-reduction goals for the upcoming year in a report released Thursday.

Mayor Eric Johnson demanded the report be released by the end of 2019, a particularly violent year in Dallas. In a statement released Thursday, Johnson noted that the department's goals — which include a 10% reduction in murders and aggravated assaults in southern sections of the city — "ought to be more ambitious."

"Over the next five years, our aim should be to reduce violent crime back to the historic lows this city saw in 2013 and 2014," Johnson said.

In 2014, there were only 116 homicides in Dallas — a record low not seen since the 1930s. Since then, Dallas' murder rate has steadily risen. Last year, there were more than 200, the most in over a decade.

As of mid-December, the number of 2019 homicides in Dallas was up 27% over the previous year, according to the report. The report compared Dallas with nine other major American cities: San Diego, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Phoenix, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Houston. Half saw an increase in their violent crime rate last year, but Dallas' rate increased the most.

In an accompanying letter addressed to the city manager, Chief U. Renee Hall wrote that "the Plan will be executed with quantifiable, key performance metrics, and accountability for achieving results will be the basis for continuous progress."

The department will create a new "Intelligence Led Police Division" to collect and analyze crime data and will assign 100 people to a new "Crime Response Team" that will use that data. These were among other initiatives highlighted in the report, such as improved coordination among agencies and the targeting of crime hot spots and high-risk offenders.

The report emphasizes that the new initiatives are consistent with KPMG's recommendations, released last year, for improving departmental efficiency.

But the report inadvertently illustrated the challenges facing the department as it attempts to reinvent itself as a technologically sophisticated police force. As of late Thursday afternoon, the violent crime rates in the report's appendix — available on the department's website — were suspiciously identical for the Southwest and Southeast patrol divisions.

A department spokesperson said the data "may or may not be” accurate, and later thanked the Observer for bringing it to the department's attention. 

A new version of the report with corrected crime data for the Southwest division was posted Friday morning on the department's website.

Hall is expected to brief City Council on the plan later this month. 
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Lucas Manfield is an editorial fellow at the Observer. He's a former software developer and a recent graduate of Columbia Journalism School.
Contact: Lucas Manfield