Dallas County

Dallas Police Chief Says Drop In Homicides Proves New Task Force is Working

Dallas police are seeing a dramatic drop in violent crime this month.

Dallas police officials say new crime-fighting strategies – and new help from other law enforcement agencies – are paying off this spring.

So far there have been three homicides in April, compared to 20 in March.

In early March, DPD created a new 170-member task force to fight violent crime. Several police associations said a consequence of that was hampering detectives' abilities to follow-up on cases and investigate.

The chief says he's committed to putting violent offenders in jail.

The strategy for the last two months has been increased patrols in tiny-geographic-perimeters where statistics showed disproportionate violence.

The Violent Crime Task Force has spent weeks at a time saturating one neighborhood, trying to make arrests and locate wanted felony suspects, as well as seizing drugs, guns and stolen property.

"Our deployment strategy is reducing violent crime in this city," said Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

Brown said the task force is focusing on drug houses and drug dealers and tracking down domestic abusers.

"Much of our violent crime – our aggravated assaults and our murders – have been driven by domestic violence. So getting those warrants served expeditiously has paid off," Brown said.

Brown said at the beginning of the year, there were more than 800 domestic violence warrants. Now, that number is down to "around 500."

There are also about 1,000 warrants for drug cases.

Violent crime in April is down 10 percent.

The district attorney's office is also stepping up outreach to crime victims in Dallas County. District Attorney Susan Hawk is meeting with the Oak Lawn community at the Cathedral of Hope Monday at 6 p.m.

Many residents in that community are still angry there have been no arrests in any of the 14 or more violent attacks in recent months, dating back to last autumn.

Earlier this month, the Texas Department of Public Safety sent more than a dozen state troopers to help Dallas police fight its violent crime spike.

Brown said those troopers are serving warrants and helping identify gang members – trying to learn more about the structure of gang organizations around the city, county, and state.

"Right now [DPS] dedicated 10 to 20 to help us out with the warrants. And that's significant," Brown said. "Those are resources we didn't have to spare before."

It's unclear how long the 10 to 20 troopers will be assigned to work with Dallas police, but the chief hopes they'll stick around for at least another month.

"We want to make sure we do what we have to before the summer starts. June, July, August are always tough months. So we're trying to do as much as we can in May," he said, warning of a traditional summer crime spike, when school is out, and temperatures – and people's aggression – can boil over.

The Gang Unit has played a key role in the success of the Violent Crime Task Force.

New statistics revealed Monday by the Dallas Police Department show that the Gang Unit has assisted with 52 arrests through March 31 (86 total in 2015), led 216 traffic stops through March 31 (419 in all of 2015) and filed 10 warrants through March 31 (12 in all of 2015).

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