Dallas Police Chief Meets Citizens After City Leaders Question Crime Stats

The police department reported a 22 percent reduction in violent crime for 2018

Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall is scheduled to appear at a Buckner Terrace Homeowners Association meeting Tuesday night to discuss crime fighting efforts there.

It comes the day after Dallas City Council members questioned the accuracy of new figures that show a 22 percent reduction in violent crime citywide through the month of May.

"There's something not connecting in what is happening in our communities and what we are reporting," Public Safety Committee Chairman Adam McGough said Monday.

The council members asked if the shortage of police officers has simply kept them from reaching all the crimes residents are reporting. The police force has fallen to 3,028 in the latest report, a reduction of around 600 officers in the past few years. Hall said the numbers are accurate.

Buckner Terrace is in the Southeast Patrol District which recorded a 20 percent reduction in violent crime rate. It is also the location of apartments and condos on Rothington Road where a rash of murders occurred this year.

Buckner Terrace Homeowners Association Vice President Daniel Wood said there has been improvement in police presence since a Rothington Road crackdown was announced earlier this month.

"There's a lot of progress that's happening," Wood said.

On a tour of the neighborhood earlier this month, Wood recorded a cellphone video of Chief Hall meeting 5-year-old Lacie Barker, who wore a police chief costume to her school career day event this year.

Hall heard about the picture and went to meet Barker.

"I want to let you know that you can be and do anything that you want to do," Hall told the girl in the video "We make mistakes. We fix them and we move forward."

Hall admitted no mistakes on the crime figures with the city council Monday, but said police may need to do a better job improving police visibility and explaining the numbers to residents.

Council member Jennifer Gates told Hall that Northwest Dallas neighbors have complained about prostitution and burglary problems.

James Craig, owner of Dennis Road Automotive, said those issues plague his business.

"Our area has got an influx of it, break-ins to cars, break-ins to buildings," Craig said.

The businessman demonstrated the zip ties he used to detain one auto burglar for an hour and a half waiting for police to answer the call for help.

He said prostitutes and their customers on Satsuma Drive beside his shop disturb his customers.

"They don't care if the customers are coming in with their kids. They'll stop and interrupt business by trying to conduct business in your parking lot," he said.

He's seen the prostitutes using the Royal Lane DART Rail station nearby.

Craig said police officers told him that disbanding the chief's disbanding of the vice unit this year left them handcuffed on prostitution enforcement.

"Years ago they would run stings and the van would sit down the street and they would haul the cars off," Craig said.

The vice unit was disbanded for an internal affairs investigation. Chief Hall told city council members Monday that the vice unit would be back soon. She said patrol and narcotics officers have been enforcing prostitution infractions in the meantime.

"I don't see that," Craig said.

The new police crime report shows an increase of nearly 34 percent for violent crime so far this year in the Northwest Police Patrol district.

Chief Renee Hall was recruited from Detroit by City Manager T.C. Broadnax last year.

Wood said Hall was hired to shake things up at the Dallas Police Department.

"It's just a big job," he said. "They're present and their working on it."

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