City Hall

'Violent Street Crime' is Decreasing in the City, According to Dallas Police

The violent crime reduction plan in Dallas is showing results, but DPD Chief Eddie Garcia is not taking a victory lap quite yet.
The violent crime reduction plan in Dallas is showing results, but DPD Chief Eddie Garcia is not taking a victory lap quite yet. Mark Graham
The Dallas Police Department says it’s seeing results a year into its violent crime reduction plan.

The violent crime reduction plan was created by DPD, the city and University of Texas at San Antonio criminology and criminal justice professors Michael Smith and Rob Tillyer. The two professors showed members of the Public Safety Committee on Monday how the implementation of the plan has affected crime in the city. They said overall violent crime (murders, robbery and nonfamily violence-related aggravated assault, for instance) is down by nearly 12%.

But street-level violent crime has seen some of the biggest changes since the crime plan was rolled out.

“The crime plan itself is primarily designed to treat street-level violence,” Smith told the Public Safety Committee. “As criminologists, we define street-level violent crime as murder, robbery and nonfamily violence-related aggravated assault. Those are primarily shootings that don’t result in someone dying.”

Compared with two years ago, street-level violent crime has dropped 18%. Since last year, there’s been a 12% drop.

However, murders saw a slight uptick. The number of business robberies has also dropped nearly 17%, and individual robberies have decreased by about 21%. The plan has had a smaller effect on aggravated assaults, which saw only a decline of nearly 5%. 

“We are not doing a touchdown dance." – Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia

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“We look at crime in two ways. We look at criminal incidents, which may involve more than one victim, and then we also look at it from the victim level,” Smith said. The number of victims of street level crime has decreased by about 8% since last year.

When it comes to the violent crime hot spots, which are seeing more police patrols under the plan, the DPD says it asks itself certain questions about these parts of town to measure the crime plan’s success.

Officials want to know what patterns crime follows in the city with and without intervention, if changes are natural or the result of the steps taken in the violent crime plan, and how these efforts could affect areas surrounding violent crime hotspots.

The department found that on average violent crime declined more than 50% in the hot spots it's been working compared to three months prior. These effects lingered even after DPD stopped working some of these hotspots. Surrounding areas also saw decreases in violent street crime.

But DPD Chief Eddie Garcia said he’s not taking a victory lap yet, and that there is plenty the department needs to work on. “We are not doing a touchdown dance,” Garcia said in a written statement. “There is still work to be done. But as the numbers are showing, the plan is showing positive results and crime is down.”

He and the department received praise from city officials like Mayor Eric Johnson and City Manager T.C. Broadnax for the results of the crime plan a year into its implementation. Johnson said in a statement, “While we have significant work still ahead of us, we have proven that by working together and putting public safety first at every turn, we can build safer communities.”
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn