Crime News

Dallas Police Department formulates new plan to reduce violent crime

Dallas Police Department formulates new plan to reduce violent crime

Dallas police car
Strategies include using civilians for some police tasks. Dallas Police/Facebook

The Dallas Police Department has issued a 29-page program designed to reduce the violent crime rate in Dallas.

According to a release from the city of Dallas, the Violent Crime Reduction Plan for 2020 is data driven, and offers short-term strategies for immediate relief, plus long-term strategies to make bigger reductions in crime across all categories.

The plan is a response to an early December directive by Mayor Eric Johnson, to combat rising crime rates; Dallas experienced an increase in violent crime by 15 percent in 2019.

The plan has big goals, including a 5 percent reduction in violent crime in 2020, and an even higher 10 percent reduction in the Southeast, Southwest, and Central divisions where crime is most prevalent.

Some of the strategies they're suggesting are the result of a 2019 study by consulting group KPMG.

Dallas was not alone in experiencing an increase in violent crime in 2019; other cities included New York, San Antonio Philadelphia, and Houston. But Dallas had the biggest jump.

Guiding principles
The plan has four guiding principles:

  • Data-driven approach
  • Increase clearance rates and solvability
  • Improve coordination and communications
  • Technology

New tactics recommended include targeted patrols; the creation of a new Violent Crime Response Team; warrant roundups; and a deterrent program.

Risk Terrain Modeling
They're also suggesting a practice called Risk Terrain Modeling, that pinpoints environmental factors leading to crime such as poor lighting, abandoned businesses, or vacant land. They'll partner with other departments such as Code Compliance, Community Prosecution, Dallas Fire-Rescue, Housing, and Parks and Recreation to make fixes and improve quality of life.

Crime maps
The plan includes maps and crime tables for each of the city's seven patrol divisions. The maps show where violent crime such as robberies, aggravated assaults, and homicides are most common, as well as the time of day and day of week that crime is most prevalent. (Weekends are big, as are the hours between 9 pm and midnight.)

Civilian help
The DPD is also looking at hiring civilians for administrative type jobs. An analysis identified 95 potential positions currently filled by sworn personnel that could be filled by civilians. The department's current ratio of civilians is 15 percent; they're aiming to increase that to 20 percent in 2020.

The plan acknowledges that no panacea for crime exists. "However, identifying the people, places, and behaviors that influence crime will allow officers to work proactively to address trends and patterns," it says. "Our vision and actions will be guided by the principles of 21st Century Policing, including fostering relationships that build trust with the community."

The plan will be presented to the Public Safety Committee on January 13, 2020.