Violent Crime Down in Dallas, Police Chief Says

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The city of Dallas is on a mission to set an example for other communities and police departments to reduce violent crime.

According to the Public Safety Solutions for America Coalition, Dallas has seen a decline in violent crime over the last two years, unlike other major cities in the nation.

During a public forum held Thursday afternoon, criminal justice experts, Dallas leaders, the police chief, and Dallas County District Attorney discussed the practices and smarter solutions to improve police-community relations and public safety.

The panel was hosted by the Public Safety Solutions for America Coalition, Right on Crime and Americans for Prosperity-Texas.

“We have a weed and seed mantra over in Dallas, and that’s to weed our communities of the criminal elements while at the same time seeding with positivity,” Eddie Garcia, Dallas Police Chief said. “The first time we seed our community cannot be in a moment of crisis.”

Thursday’s panelists also included Alice Marie Johnson, criminal justice reform advocate and CEO and founder of Taking Action for Good, Antong Lucky, president of Urban Specialists and Samuel Sheetz, policy director at Americans for Prosperity-Texas.

According to the coalition, the goal is to discuss comprehensive and proven measures to reduce recidivism and engage the community while making sure law enforcement also has the resources needed.

Garcia said he has implemented a three-step approach to help reduce the cases of violent crime in the community.

“Prevention, intervention and suppression,” Garica said. “We do suppression really well. If you're going to go out there and act a fool and hurt our city, we're going to get you. Because we know someone's in trouble and then we try to intervene and make sure they don't get in trouble again. The area that I challenge all of us that we need to be better at is at prevention.”

Prevention, according to the panelists starts in local neighborhoods.

“We have to use the data," Garcia said. "We know our zip codes in the city of Dallas that... lead in areas that we don't want them leading in, whether it's over-incarceration, whether it's victimization, or right, where there's dropout rates."

John Creuzot, Dallas County District Attorney also made an appearance Thursday.

“We are looking at the vulnerable populations: the unhoused, the mentally ill, and we are investing money in our police departments as we have with Dallas Police,” Creuzot said. “We want to work… with them to solve these problems before they commit a crime or go to jail or have some other impact on the community.”

According to Creuzot, a key to reducing violent crime rate is adding more police officers.

“We need more police. I have never questioned whether we need more police,” Creuzot said. “The Dallas Police Department needs more police and probably most of our police agencies in Dallas County. When we're shorthanded, the cases don’t get worked as well as they are able to.”

More officers, according to Creuzot, means building stronger cases to better prosecute and uphold accountability.

While more work and resources are still needed to make communities in Dallas safer, Lucky said the root cause cannot be overlooked.

“Our community has issues with trust and law enforcement. You cannot take that off the table,” Lucky said. “We can't make being safe in our community a political issue, it has to be a human issue, and we have to be able to have conversations.”

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