Programs recommended by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s Task Force on Safe Communities are coming to fruition.
Johnson created the task force in August 2019 and tasked them with figuring out what can be done about the city's skyrocketing violent crime rate. The group of 16 then spent months "touring high-crime areas, discussing ideas, learning about programs in other cities before submitting a report to the mayor's office.
On Wednesday, the Mayor joined Chief Eddie Garcia and Task Force members Rene Martinez and Derrick Battie to discusses improvements made in South Dallas near Opportunity Park. 76 new street lights were installed in the area during December of last year and January of this year. Mayor Johnson says it’s part of a strategic plan to reduce violent crime based on data presented by the Task Force.
“Violent crime especially has risen to unacceptable levels. We finished 2020 with more murders than in any year since 1998,” said Johnson. “As we move forward, we can’t make excuses. We just have to get to work.”
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Johnny Ramos, Manager of the Office of Integrated Public Safety Solutions said nearly 650 lights were ordered and the city’s next targeted area will be near Overton and Bonnie View Roads.
The Task Force presented four actionable solutions for violent crime reduction: community violence interrupters, blight remediation, increased lighting and a youth conflict management program funded by Dallas ISD.
“Crime reduction not solely the responsibility of law enforcement,” said Johnson. “All of us can be and must be a part of the solution.”
Additional planned areas for new lighting include South Buckner Blvd and St. Francis Ave, Spring Valley Road and Coit Road, and Al Lipscomb Way.