Violent crime is rising and it’s taking longer for help to arrive, according to new data released by the Dallas Police Department.
On Monday, Dallas Police Chief David Brown addressed the city’s public safety committee.
Brown stressed overall crime is down this year and has steadily declined over the last decade, but said violent crimes remain a challenge.
“From year-to-year comparisons we have challenges in the area of violent crime, in particular, individual robberies,” said Brown.
Numbers released from DPD show violent crime from this time last year is up 7 percent. The number of murders rose 19 percent, sexual assaults rose 32 percent and business robberies rose 21 percent.
It is also taking longer for officers to respond to those high-priority calls. Right now, the average response time to high-priority calls is over eight minutes.
Brown said some of that is due to new training the department implemented to prevent officer-involved shootings.
“We’re emphasizing in training to slow down, take more time in resolving critical incidents,” said Brown.
He said officers are spending more time at calls and are waiting for back up before rushing to a scene – all part of training to de-escalate a situation.
“We’d much rather have officers and citizens safer by taking more time on calls rather than to rush in and officers get highly criticized, fired or prosecuted because they were trying to do the right thing,” said Brown. “The unintended consequence on that officers are taking more time on calls. It means fewer officers are available to go on calls in a more timely manner than they have in the past.”
President of the Dallas Police Association, Ron Pinkston, says telling your officers to slow down to a call is a bad message to send to your citizens.
“You don’t want to rush in to a violent situation, but you want to rush and get there quickly to help citizens in need,” said Pinkston. “Bottom line, violent crime is up, response times are up and officers are fed up,” said Pinkston.
Brown said he will be requesting $1 million from the city budget for officer overtime to try and curb the violent crime rate and bring the response time to under eight minutes.