Dallas police are launching an initiative to curb the city's shocking spike in sexual assaults.
The number of sexual assaults in Dallas is up 25 percent in comparison to this time last year. The department will unveil the awareness campaign Wednesday at Dallas City Hall.
“The police are going to do what they can to try to get the message out, but eventually this has to fall upon the shoulders of the citizens,” said Jeff McKissack, a personal defense consultant who has seen parts of the plan.
The Dallas Police Department’s plan includes more bike and foot patrols in popular entertainment districts, enhanced training for officers on how to identify potential rapists and more authority to off-duty officers working at bars and nightclubs, among several other things.
”Those things can help, they can be enhancements, but it has to come down to the individual being aware of your environment and listening to basic instincts,” McKissack said.
According to statistics provided by Dallas police, 62 percent of the sexual assaults reported so far this year involved alcohol and/or drugs. The department said 60 percent of victims knew their attacker and 15 percent accepted rides from the offender.
“It is a personal deal, and we have to take personal responsibility, because there is not going to be a policeman following us around 24-7,” McKissack said.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown drew fire earlier when he first called for an education campaign during a City Council Public Safety Committee meeting earlier in August. Some local blogs criticized his remarks, saying it sounded like Brown was blaming the increase in sexual assaults on drinking.
Councilwoman Delia Jasso and members of various rape advocacy groups will join the police department's announcement of the campaign at noon at City Hall.