Dallas police reported an amazing 22 percent reduction in violent crime Monday, but some city council members had trouble believing the numbers.
The figures came in the monthly crime report to the Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee.
In addition to the sharp drop in violent crime, overall crime was down 4.8 percent through May 31. Auto theft was the only double digit increase -- that non-violent property crime was up 16.3 percent.
Police priority one response time was faster, 7.86 minutes through May 31, compared to 8.72 minutes for the same period last year. That improvement came even though the number of officers dropped by more than 300 since 2016.
Dallas City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates asked if the crime numbers have dropped because residents have just stopped reporting crime since police do not respond.
"Is that why? People are just frustrated? They're not calling in, especially if it's just theft off their porch," Gates said. "Are we capturing, do you feel, the real crime that's happening in our neighborhoods? Response time, is still, I get a lot of complaints related to that."
Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said the numbers are accurate, but police may not be doing a good enough job communicating that to the public.
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"The perception of crime is something that we have to work on. Being able to see police officers, foot patrols, those are things that deal with the perception of crime," Hall said.
Gates said insufficient attention is being paid to prostitution. She asked if disbanding the police vice squad has eliminated enforcement of that crime, but the chief said it has not.
"We still have active enforcement as it relates to prostitution. Narcotics does handle that and then patrol handles a portion of it," Hall said.
Council member Kevin Felder said neighbors in his southern Dallas district have complained that police are not responding to calls.
"The residents are very upset with the police department. They told me they call and the police never come," Felder said.
Councilman Adam Medrano said recent vandalism with four-wheelers to the sports fields at Grauwyler Park was reported to police as it was happening. Medrano said police did not respond.
The Public Safety Committee Chairman Adam McGough concluded the crime discussion with similar concerns about the accuracy of the police report. He said residents in his northeast Dallas district are complaining about rising crime problems.
"I look at the numbers and they appear to be going down," McGough said. "So there's something not connecting in our communities and what we're reporting."
McGough warned that problems may increase in summer months when Dallas crime typically rises.
Chief Hall said many crime fighting plans are in the works.
"We just have to make sure that we are doing that in every area where we are seeing these complaints so we can deal with this perception of crime," she said.