The Dallas Police Department is expanding a crime-fighting program that has already seen great results.
The program is Starlight, which uses software and a camera system to prevent crimes at stores, gas stations, and convenience stores.
The program was first introduced in 2019 as a pilot, with installations at three crime-ridden locations: two 7-Eleven stores and the Ferguson Food Mart and Texaco Gas Station, at Ferguson Road and I-635.
According to a release from the DPD, the installation has reduced criminal offenses at those locations by 35 percent since its inception and has led to a nearly 40 percent reduction in calls for police services.
Now it will be installed at four new locations which have also experienced a high volume of calls:
- American Dollar Plus Store at 9770 Forest Lane in District 10
- EZ Trip Food Store at 9798 Forest Lane in District 10
- Chevron Gas Station at 9791 Forest Lane in District 10
- Chevron Gas Station at 2944 N. Buckner Blvd in District 7
Dallas Chief of Police Reneé Hall says in a statement that this initiative, which is a collaboration with Safer Dallas Better Dallas — an organization that raises money from Dallas foundations, businesses, and citizens to purchase equipment for Dallas police officers — and Motorola Solutions, has led to a meaningful reduction of crime.
The equipment shows what's happening in real time, providing what they call a virtual patrol, with a connection to the DPD's Real Time Crime Center. Each store is equipped with cameras, signage, and a blue light, to indicate that the store is being monitored by the DPD.
"The technology has also improved efficiency by giving our officers additional insight when responding to events at participating locations," Hall says. "They know what to expect before they arrive on the scene, so they can resolve incidents quickly and spend more time in the community, where they have the greatest impact."
Their hope is that the expanded Starlight program will allow the Dallas Police Department to be more proactive in identifying and responding to potential criminal activity, with potentially more expansion if it keeps working.