The FBI released its uniform crime report this week, and the data is dead on with what all of us have suspected: Violent crime is way up across the nation.
The FBI reports the increase in homicide as close to 30%, the largest single year increase in 60 years of data tracking. Along with the surge in murders, the nation experienced a 5% increase in violent crime overall, of course, we know Dallas’s numbers tracked far higher than that.
A midyear report this year, performed by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, found homicide in all major cities continue to rise. They also reported increases in rape and aggravated assaults.
Keep Dallas Safe was founded last year in response to the obvious spike in violent crime that continues to plague the city. The slow response to the increase by some members of the city council and City Manager, T.C. Broadnax, without doubt, cost lives in our neighborhoods.
We heard the same reasoning (excuses) over and over for the increase in crime from former Chief Hall’s office, as well as the City Manager’s office- high stress due to the pandemic, rising gun sales, and unpredictability of where crime was likely to occur because of changes in normal routines. These are the same reasons suggested by the FBI and criminologists for the nation-wide spike.
What Keep Dallas Safe was asking for, of course, were not the reasons for the increase in violence. We were asking what they were doing to stop it. It wasn’t until current DPD Chief Garcia got to work and presented his violent crime prevention plan earlier this year that we finally felt something was being done.
Garcia believes his VCPP can be used as a model for other large cities across the country as they struggle to get a handle on their issues with violent crime. One major component of the plan works by creating small grids” throughout the city, and providing visible officers stationed in each one, as data shows crime is less likely to occur when there are visible officers in the area.
We had been promoting a similar solution since we began KDS and are anxious to be proved correct. What the plan must have to be successful, and we are lacking, is MORE OFFICERS. Garcia has stated this fact to the council, the mayor, the media and the citizens of Dallas. There are plans to hire around 130 officers by the end of this year, which will not even cover the expected attrition rate for 2021.
While massive population growth that continues to occur across the metroplex, it should be expected that proactively hiring more officers would be a top priority for all of Dallas leadership. It isn’t.
The only person consistently asking for more officers and explaining why it is necessary is the Chief himself. Unfortunately, the council has a bad habit of trying to ignore problems and hoping they just go away. The FBI report is clear: the increase in violent crime and murder is wide-spread and continuing. The feckless members of our city council cannot will it away by pretending it isn’t there.
One of our top missions for the rest of the year is to bring light to the issue of our overworked and understaffed police department. We demand that city leadership commit to the goal of at least 1000 more officers hired and trained by Spring of 2022.
Thank you for helping to #KeepDallasSafe!