Over the last several weekends, Dallas Police have responded to multiple shootings in the city. Most recently on Sunday in Deep Ellum where surveillance cameras captured a shooting, but despite the string of violence, Dallas Police say data shows its current crime reduction plan is working.
Monday afternoon the Dallas Public Safety Committee, which is made up of seven council members, heard an update from DDP about its Violent Crime Reduction Plan.
"I would tell the community that our eye is on the ball still with this crime plan that is working and we'll continue that. We need to work collectively with our businesses and clergies and our communities because we can't do this on our own," said Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia.
The Violent Crime Reduction Plan started at the end of 2021. DPD identified what it called "47 grids" or hot spots for a crime that they're targeting. Of the 47, 23 are in the southern part of Dallas.
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Data presented at the meeting shows crimes such as assaults and robberies have trended downward in the last few months, since the implementation of these new efforts by DPD.
But, the murder trend has increased. To put this all into perspective, in March of last year, there were 13 murders. In March of this year, that number nearly doubled.
DPD said as of March 31, murders are up by 6 victims since 2021.
Robbery of businesses also increased according to the data.
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Garcia acknowledged that they're constantly revisiting and reevaluating their efforts as they look at the stats and information.
"With our murders for example, these aren’t random acts of violence, a lot of it is conflict resolution," explained Garcia who said detectives continue to solve cases.
But the investigation continues into the deadly shooting at a trail ride and concert in southern Dallas that left one dead and 16 others injured. Last month there was another mass shooting outside a concert venue where one person was killed and multiple others injured.
Chief Garcia said neither event had the proper paperwork to operate.
On Monday he addressed the council, urging for permit changes to where party promoters and landowners who rent out their property would need to acquire a special events permit. It's something Garcia said the city attorney is currently looking into.
There were seven off-duty officers who were hired to work at the event last weekend off of Cleveland Road in southern Dallas. Garcia said the off-duty officers left before the shooting happened, and said the officers should not have been cleared to work the event since the organizers did not have a permit.
Last week Garcia issued a department-wide memorandum requiring officers accepting off-duty employment at an event with more than 100 guests to contact the department's special events unit to ensure the event has a permit.
"Another benefit of this mechanism is if we find out an event is not permitted and someone has reached out to DPD to provide off-duty officers, well now it’s on the radar and we know about it and they can investigate that to ensure they either have the proper safety and that they definitely have a permit before that event can be held," said Council Member Gay Donnell Willis.
"Of course, we want to encourage fun big events in our large beautiful city that the citizens can enjoy, but we also have to have that walk hand in hand with safety," she said.
During Monday's meeting, there was discussion about the need for more NPO, neighborhood police officers. They're tasked with community policing through service, events and outreach, something Garcia said he wants to restore as the department grows.
Staffing issues have impacted that effort.
“Our men and women need to continue to go out there and remove the criminal element off the street we need to work with the criminal justice system to make sure people are held accountable, but at the same time need to ensure the community doesn’t (only) see us in a moment of chaos, a moment of crisis. So ultimately we do need to grow as a police department, the importance of NPO," said Garcia.