Big plans for public safety in Dallas
And a look at the numbers in September.
So far, the plan is working: crime is trending downward in Dallas.
In fact, as The Dallas Morning News reported a few days ago, “Unlike some other big cities, such as Chicago and Houston, murders are lower in Dallas this year.”
The early successes of the Dallas Police Department’s violent crime reduction plan — combined with the continued implementation of my Task Force on Safe Communities programs — have meant fewer victims and safer neighborhoods in Dallas.
The city’s commitment to public safety has even drawn national attention. The New York Times came to Dallas and looked at what is happening here in terms of policing. A year after the defund debate dominated the discourse across the country, the Times wrote, “perhaps nowhere has the contrast been as stark as in Dallas, where Mr. Johnson not only proposed to restore money to the department but moved to increase the number of officers on the street, writing over the summer that ‘Dallas needs more police officers.’”
That’s absolutely true, and it’s wonderful to see others taking note of what has been accomplished here. But there is still significant work ahead. This is no time to let up. This is no time to declare victory prematurely.
Police Chief Eddie Garcia is beginning the next phase of his violent crime reduction plan. Chief Garcia and I have also announced a new, separate plan aimed at fighting the scourge of domestic violence in Dallas. You can read Sharon Grigsby’s take on that plan here.
To properly put the plan in place, Chief Garcia and his team will need more resources than they have had in recent years.
Thankfully, more help is on the way. The new budget calls for hiring 250 officers this year, restores police overtime funding, adds squad cars to cover more ground, and significantly expands the 911 call center. The city is also expanding its efforts to improve the response to mental health crises.
And the city council also approved my proposal to spend Tax Increment Financing District dollars — $500,000 worth — to improve lighting in South Dallas.
Of course, implementation of these new initiatives will be critical. It’s one thing to allocate resources, as the city council has done. It’s another for city management to execute on these plans. Oversight is needed. Implementation must be monitored.
The full public safety priorities report for September is below. The numbers reflect where the city stood as of September 30. The parentheses show the change from last month’s report. Remember, the crime statistics had reset on January 1 and reflect the calendar year, not the fiscal year, which begins each year on October 1.
Task Force on Safe Communities implementation
Number of new streetlights installed as part of the Priority Improvement Zones: 1,146 (+38)
Number of new streetlights installed as part of the Digital Divide and Strategic Streetlighting Plan: 100 (No change)
Number of new streetlights installed as part of the environmental improvements for crime prevention plan: 543 (No change)
Number of blighted properties remediated by Neighborhood Nuisance Abatement: 37,336 (+1,638)
Number of blighted properties remediated by the Office of Integrated Public Safety Solutions, utilizing Code Compliance personnel within Risk Terrain Area: 1,920 (+171)
Number of violence interrupters funded by the City of Dallas: 1 organization with an 11-member team (No change)
Total number of murders and non‐negligent homicides year‐to‐date: 159 (+18)
Murder victims by race/ethnicity
Black: 97 (+9)
Hispanic: 45 (+8)
White: 15 (+1)
Other/unknown: 2 (No change)
Murders by City Council district
District 1: 11 (+3)
District 2: 15 (+3)
District 3: 14 (No change)
District 4: 17 (+1)
District 5: 8 (No change)
District 6: 16 (+2)
District 7: 26 (+2)
District 8: 19 (+2)
District 9: 2 (No change)
District 10: 17 (+3)
District 11: 4 (+1)
District 12: 1 (No change)
District 13: 4 (No change)
District 14: 5 (+1)
(For your reference, here is a map of City Council districts. You can also find your representatives here).
Total number of murders and non‐negligent homicides during the current year in which no arrest has been made: 56 (No change)
Number of 911 call takers on staff: 111 (+10)
Average 911 call holding time, in minutes and seconds, for the month: 6 seconds (No change)
Police civilianization, hiring, and overtime
Total amount of overtime funding expended to date in the current fiscal year: $35.1 million (+$4.42 million)
Total Dallas Police Department overtime budget allocated for the current fiscal year: $30.4 million (+13.1 million)
Total number of jobs transitioned from sworn officers to non‐sworn employees as part of KPMG civilianization plan: 85 (+12)
Total number of police officers and trainees hired year‐to‐date: 169 (+49)
Total number of police officers and trainees who have resigned, retired, or have been terminated: 204 (+24)
Total number of police department civilian employees hired: 230 (+26)
Total number of police department civilian employees who have resigned, retired, or have been terminated: 104 (+18)
Police response times
Median police response times to priority 1 calls: 6 minutes, 10 seconds (-23 seconds)
Percentage of priority 1 calls receiving a response in under 8 minutes: 53.31% (-0.58%)
Median police response times to priority 2 calls: 17 minutes, 52 seconds (-3 minutes, 43 seconds)
More progress is needed. Dallas must strive to be the safest major city in the country. But for now, just know that the city is moving in the right direction. And that’s why it’s so important to have strategic plans guided by experts and data.
That’s all for today. Thanks for reading and for helping to keep this city safe.