Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia delivered encouraging news Monday on violent crime with support from criminal justice experts from the University of Texas at San Antonio in a briefing for the Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee.
Also on Monday, mobile phone video of a man shooting at a moving vehicle in the middle of McKinney Avenue in Uptown Dallas demonstrated the city’s ongoing problem with aggravated assault.
Resident Claire Catlin recorded the video at about 2:30 a.m. when she heard a commotion below her high-rise apartment.
“Probably once a week there’s a fight or a car accident or a shooting or something to that extent so, I just kind of have my phone ready in case something is going on,” she said.
The latest news from around North Texas.
The video showed the man throwing his gun into a bush and trying to get away. A bystander was wounded by the gunfire.
“It is definitely alarming, kind of, to look out your window and see something like that,” Catlin said.
But her video also showed a police officer on the scene within 30 seconds to make an arrest.
Police said it was a patrol supervisor who was positioned in the area for the close of bars who heard the gunshots and responded immediately.
Catlin’s video also showed a large response from other officers to the shooting.
“There is definitely a more increased police presence in Uptown than there used to be,” she said.
Garcia’s violent crime reduction plan, launched in May, focuses patrol presence and detective attention on crime hot spots.
Monday’s report showed violent crime incidents are down and arrests of wanted offenders have increased.
“The strategy is deterring crime in the hot spot grids,” said UTSA Criminal Justice Expert Mike Smith.
So far in 2021 through Sunday, Sept. 12, compared with last year, Dallas Police Department figures showed overall crime that includes violent crime and property crime is down 2.44%. The total of all crime against persons is down 1.38%.
But homicide is up 8.43% and aggravated assault that is not family violence is up 4.35%.
Homicide and aggravated assault have been up for the past year, but the current percentage is slightly lower than before.
“I hate using the term ‘every hand on deck’ because it seems so cliché. But, it is the focus of every member of this police department,” Garcia said.
Dallas City Council Members were pleased with the graphics they were shown.
“I look forward to seeing these green bars continue to go downward,” Council Member Gay Donnell Willis said.
Public Safety Committee Chairman Adam McGough said it was good that the briefing included the good and bad along with areas where police hope to improve.
“Dallas is doing better than most every other city in the country right now. And while we get to praise that fact, it's still I think important to do exactly what you are doing, and
"Weighing us against what we can and what we should be doing,” McGough said.
Councilman Tennell Atkins, who represents Southern Dallas District 8, said Dallas Police still need more officers for the mission.
“You’re doing a great job, but we definitely need more resources, especially in District 8,” Atkins said.
The current force of around 3,100 is still hundreds smaller than the peak of 3,690 in 2011.
A new Dallas budget forecasts hiring 250 more officers but the increase may be reduced or equaled by the number of officers leaving.
Public records show Damion Williams, the 36-year old man arrested on McKinney Avenue, has a history of prior arrests.
“I'm glad it worked out the way it did,” Catlin said.
Records showed Williams was in jail Monday night, charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest.