New Dallas Police Crime Fighting Plans Underway

As Dallas Police draft their first 5-year plan for public safety, a holiday crime initiative is already underway.

It includes overtime to post extra officers on horses, on bikes and in SkyWatch towers around shopping areas.

"We have bad guys out there window shopping also. When they see an opportunity, they'll always take advantage of it. So, we don't want to give them that opportunity," Dallas Police Sergeant Warren Mitchell said.

A briefing for Dallas city council members this week said officers are also paying closer attention to residential areas where crooks might grab packages.

"It makes me feel safe when there's police around and if anything were to happen, they're going to take care of it for sure," said Bishop Arts shopper Alecia Delaney.

Cody Ellison has three business locations in Bishop Arts. He said the extra police presence is a welcome improvement.

"Being here every day in and out, I know the difference of having extra police in the neighborhood," he said.

The downtown property owners group, Downtown Dallas Inc, will also hire additional off-duty officers during the holiday season, on top of the extra overtime officers the city is providing.

President and CEO Kourtny Garrett said the group wants downtown holiday visitors to have a great experience.

"If downtown is not kept safe and clean, then all the investment that comes in is really for naught," she said.

"Visibility means a lot when fighting crime and I think when the bad guys see that we're out there in numbers, then they tend to look elsewhere," Sgt. Mitchell said.

At the same time Thursday, Dallas Police launched a series of public meetings on a 5-year plan for the department that is 600 officers smaller than it was at the holiday season 8 years ago.

Garrett said downtown Dallas will need more police protection in the future.

"We will see more residents coming in. We've seen with companies like AT&T renewing their commitment, Uber coming into the market, we're going to have more employees," Garrett said.

Dallas Police have made a big push for more technology like surveillance cameras to help watch for crime.

An DPD efficiency study was conducted to help determine how many officers are needed. The results have not been made public.

Ellison said merchants want the holiday level of police presence year round.

"We're the ones with boots on the ground that know what can help. So for me, it's police presence," Ellison said.

Bishop Arts shopper Forrest Baker said he's aware of the DPD manpower decline.

"I know if they can get the numbers up and get their manpower up, Dallas will be a safer place," Baker said.

The first meeting for input on the 5-year plan was scheduled Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Long Middle School in East Dallas.

Two more are set for December 2 and 10 at other locations. More will be scheduled in 2020.

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