Dallas Eyes New Strategy to Cut Down on Violent Crime at ‘Problem' Apartments

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The Dallas Police Department is preparing a new strategy to further tackle violent crime by targeting problem apartment properties across the city, in communities where crime and code violations are rampant.

This is part of an ongoing partnership between the city and police to cut down on crime that had been increasing in recent years.

Although overall crime is down, the city registered an increase in murders in January compared to the same month last year.

As of February 14, 2022, Dallas has registered 30 murders for the year.

Monday morning, police responded to a shooting along Wadsworth Drive and found a man who had been shot to death late Sunday night. The victim has not been identified.

In a separate murder, police responded to a shooting call in Northeast Dallas early Sunday morning and found a 61-year-old woman, dressed in all black, lying on the street.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim as Lisa Avery.

Avery had been shot several times with a rifle, according to DPD.

She was found along Fair Oaks Cross near Whitehurst Drive, an area with many apartments.

Dallas police addressed the issue of apartments and violent crime Monday afternoon before the city’s public safety committee meeting.

DPD Major Paul Junger updated council members on January’s crime statistics as well as the department’s crime reduction plan that has been targeting hot spots for crime across the city.

“Overall, violent crime is down 15.71% in 2022 compared to the same period in 2021,” said Junger.

Aggravated assaults still lead violent crime in the city but were down for the sixth month since DPD’s crime plan began.

The number of illegal guns and drugs seized also increased in January.

Robberies also posted a dip, according to DPD.

However, January saw an increase in murders, registering 21 people murdered in 2022 and 18 people murdered the same month last year.

Most of the homicides involved ‘unknown circumstances and unknown relationships between the killer and their victim(s). Four victims involved family violence, according to DPD.

Police say 11 murders occurred in apartment complexes in the city, higher than in single-family homes, parks or highways.

Apartments were also the second most common locations for aggravated assaults in January, behind single-family homes, according to DPD.

“I have a feeling as the summer goes on, this will change,” said Junger predicting apartments may overtake houses as locations for shootings. “But next month, we will discuss our complex strategy to change an apartment complex into an apartment community.”

The city’s code compliance department also updated the committee on Monday, laying out what part of DPD’s plan may include next month.

The department’s leader indicated developers and property managers of properties deemed a ‘problem’ will be asked to complete free crime reduction training symposiums with police and the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas.

Long-term, code compliance wants the city to create a full-time nuisance response team, integrated within the police department’s crime reduction plan.

The team would investigate habitual criminal properties from apartments to bars and short-term rentals, seeking voluntary compliance to decrease crime and code violations.

The team could include a city attorney, a code inspector and a neighborhood police officer.

“We’re on a good trajectory,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson reacting to overall falling crime statistics. “I’m not going to be satisfied with crime in the city until we’re the safest city in the United States and even then, one homicide is too many.”

Johnson said there’s no doubt Chief Eddie Garcia’s crime plan, as well as the mayor’s own task force recommendations, are working, but cautions “we can’t look at it day by day, week by week, month by month,” he said. “We have to look at it in larger chunks. Even year by year can be a little bit dangerous to look at. But we do like the path we’re on and we think we’re trending in the right direction.”

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