Dallas city leaders have a lot to cover in Monday’s public Safety Committee meeting.
It will be the first major update on the city's Violent Crime Reduction Plan and other issues, since new chief Eddie Garcia has taken office. Much of the report will include data collected from January 2021, before he officially took office last week.
Aggravated assaults and homicides continue to be huge concerns for Dallas Police. Acting assistant chief Teena Schultz will be presenting new data collected so far this year and how it compares to last year.
Dallas is sitting at 16 homicides for the year, just one higher than this time last year, which was a record breaker for homicides overall.
According to committee documents, the Violent Crime Response team has been focusing on arresting people who are wanted for violent felony offenses, mainly to get them off the street before they commit another crime. A warrant round up was held at the end of January.
Gang offenses are up significantly so far this year compared to this time last year. According to the presentation, Dallas police said that's because gang detectives and enforcement officers have been responding to all drive-by shootings to determine if they are gang related. DPD said this rapid response and follow up has allowed them to identify and arrest more offenders
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Narcotics offenses are also up in January 2021 compared to January 2020. Dallas Police explained that the increase comes from the Narcotics Division, which conducted 86 undercover operations and executed six search warrants in January, which led to 76 arrests.
Chief Garcia told NBC 5 over the weekend that he plans to keep the momentum going in combating crime, especially when it comes to working with residents in areas of concern.
"The hard-working individuals that make our city better know that we need their help to help solve crime -- not just in their neighborhoods-- but we know that crime in these neighborhoods affects the entire city as a whole, so we have to keep working together,” he said.
Chief Garcia also told NBC 5 last week after his first day on the job that he’ll take a three-prong approach to fighting violent crime: Focused policing in hotspot crime areas, interrupting criminal enterprises where they meet, and creating long-term solutions to deter 'high-risk individuals' from breaking the law.
He said he plans to form different committees of community members and inner-faith collaborative groups.
“Everything that we're doing from a community perspective and standpoint, and getting better as an organization, more professional, what I say is all the time is please, for the message is, do not mistake our kindness for weakness because we are going to take the criminal element off our streets and we will treat our community fairly,” Garcia said.
2018 Natural Gas Explosion
Also in Monday’s committee meeting, Dallas Fire Rescue leaders will be speaking out in response to the NTSB's criticisms of the department in a report that came out last month on the natural gas explosion in 2018 that killed a young girl.
According to committee documents, DFR is looking to implement some changes to revise training for investigators and improve communication with companies like Atmos to prevent another incident.
The Office of Community Police Oversight will also be giving thorough briefing in response to demand for police reform. Tonya McClary, Director OCPO and Police Monitor for the city, put together an update on the impact of misdemeanor citations on communities of color.
The findings are especially critical of the DPD's marijuana arrests. Click here for a link to the report.
The Public Safety Committee will convene starting at 1 p.m.