Mayor Johnson: Summer of Safety was a success — here’s what’s next
An invitation to the Summer of Safety Celebration on Aug. 27 at UNT-Dallas.
The following was adapted from my email newsletter. To subscribe, visit MayorofDallas.org.
Summer usually means hotter temperatures. It means kids who have too much time on their hands when they’re out of the classroom. And it often means increased violent crime in major cities.
But not in Dallas — not this year.
Police Chief Eddie Garcia last week told the Dallas City Council’s Public Safety Committee that violent crime fell in June and July compared to last summer’s numbers.
That’s remarkable. And it’s a testament to our prioritization of public safety in this city.
The chief rightfully credited the men and women of his police department for the work they did to apprehend criminals and deter violence in this city’s neighborhoods. But he also credited community engagement efforts that were part of the Summer of Safety campaign this year.
I announced the Summer of Safety campaign with the chief in June outside of South Oak Cliff High School. The campaign is all about engaging the city’s young people while they’re out of school by promoting the city’s free and low-cost activities and programs. But the Summer of Safety was also a call to action — a plea to parents and communities to be more involved in kids’ lives. To know what they’re up to. To keep them out of trouble. And to ensure they remain focused on all the opportunities in front of them.
Those efforts are paying off. During the last two months, the numbers have been astounding.
This summer, more than 200,000 visitors spent time at the city’s aquatics centers, which stayed open and avoided the lifeguard shortage seen in many other cities. That’s because the Dallas Park and Recreation Department prioritized its summer youth activities and provided competitive pay for lifeguards and staff, who also deserve a tremendous amount of credit for making this season so successful.
The Park and Recreation Department also gave out nearly 6,000 Teen All Access Passes this summer. These fantastic passes provided free access to cultural venues and events throughout the city.
“SMART Summer with Mayor Johnson” also officially wrapped up on Saturday. The program helps get thousands of young people reading, learning, engaging with library programming, and winning great prizes during the summer months. And dozens of other free and low-cost activities throughout the city kept families entertained and helped kids learn and grow this summer.
Now, as children go back to school, it’s time to come together as a community and celebrate these crucial efforts and partnerships that have made Dallas safer and more vibrant.
That’s why it’s exciting to announce the Summer of Safety Celebration on Saturday, August 27th at the University of North Texas at Dallas (UNT Dallas)!
Essentially, this will be a community block party on a growing and vital university campus located in the beautiful southern part of this great city.
While it will be fun, this, too, isn’t a victory lap. The work of building a safer city is not done and will never be done as long as there are still victims of violence in Dallas. That must always be the approach — the relentless pursuit of excellence must continue.
But this is an opportunity to come together as a community and commit to moving forward together. It’s about schools. It’s about families. It’s about fun. It’s about parenting and talking to your kids. It’s about looking out for one another.
The festivities start at 9 a.m. on August 27th and end at 1 p.m. Food, fun, entertainment, and music — including a Dallas ISD Battle of the Bands — will be available for families.
The celebration will also feature a community fair with information about critical services that can help you and your family.
More details about the festivities will be released soon. But plan to stop by! The UNT-Dallas campus is located at 7300 University Hills Blvd, Dallas, TX 75241. You can drive or take Dallas Area Rapid Transit (the Blue Line can get you there).
Hope to see you then and there. And afterward, you can also spend a little time cooling off only 5 miles away at Bahama Beach, which just extended its season.
Even with all the challenges at the national and international level, this is truly is a great time to be in Dallas.
Have a great week, and take care of yourselves!