A drop in Dallas Crime: Is this a hopeful trend or a one off due to bad weather?

According to Newsbreak.com “Crime in Dallas began to drop off as the first week of March rolled in. On March 1, the city racked in 1,081 property crimes, 976 crimes categorized as “other” and 270 violent crimes. But by March 8, property crimes decreased by 37%, “other” crimes by nearly 39% and violent crimes by nearly 42%.”

 Keep Dallas Safe has been advocating for an end to the rise in violent crime from its inception, we feel it’s important to analyze the data to be certain of its validity, and to determine if this is a trend or a temporary reduction due to events unrelated to effective policing.

The meteoric rise in crime that occurred in Dallas over 2020 was unprecedented. Keep Dallas Safe questioned DPD and City leadership at the end of the year, demanding to know why the city had faced its most murderous year in decades, and what they were planning to do about it. As we have reported in other blogs, DPD continuously chose to lay the blame on its inability to track data due to the pandemic. Their argument was basically this: we have always collected data on high crime areas and used that data to increase officer presence in those areas, thus, reducing crime. The Coronavirus pandemic caused our data to skew, as the crime was not occurring in predictable areas, so they were unable to produce extra patrols, so crime was unpreventable. Their plan was to increase patrols all over the city, stretching an already exhausted force, and encourage citizens to report non-violent crimes to their online portal. An “accidently released” memo in January highlights the confusion in the communication between Dallas leadership, it’s law enforcement offices, and it’s residents. With our new police chief already in uniform, It’s time to get down to brass tacks and quit playing the blame game: Is crime in Dallas reducing or not? And why?

In a March 10th Tweet, councilmember Adam Bazaldua praised the DPD in it’s efforts to reduce crime in D7, stating “I’m even more hopeful with our new leadership structure in the department”.

Keep Dallas Safe is hopeful as well, but data without context can be weaponized to fit any given narrative. Equating a temporary reduction in violent crime during an epic weather event to an overall reduction in crime is a disingenuous presentation of data. Drug possession and related crimes stayed on track, and as the weather warmed and pipes were repaired, murders without suspects and senseless violence continued.

The most obvious interpretation of the data is this: bad weather keeps potential criminals off the streets. Drug users and dealers will continue to make transactions regardless of weather. It is easier to catch a drug transaction when they are some of the only people willing to risk an accident on frozen streets.

Let us hold our applause while our new Chief works his plan to reduce crime, and not take at face value a seeming success filtered through the desires of a campaigning politician. There is a lot of work to be done yet, and we all know the dangers of declaring “mission accomplished” before the fat lady sings.

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