Dallas had the highest crime rate among cities with more than 1 million residents for the seventh consecutive year in 2004, says the Dallas Morning News. The city’s murder rate crept up to No. 2 among the nation’s nine largest cities; its rates for other violent crimes – rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults – fell in the rankings. Overall crime fell 4 percent in Dallas last year, giving the city one of its lowest rates of crimes per person in 30 years. “Our crime rate is too high and unacceptable,” Police Chief David Kunkle said. “I think that we’ll have dramatic reductions this year.” Kunkle has announced a bold plan to cut crime by 10 percent and homicides by 20 percent in just one year.
Many criminologists say statistical comparisons are unfair because data can’t account for the willingness of residents to report crime, the number of workers and shoppers who visit the city daily, and differences in geography, development, and transportation. Kunkle’s strategies include adding officers on busier Friday and Saturday nights, parking squad cars in front of suspected drug houses, and installing surveillance cameras in public places. Dallas has 2.5 officers per 1,000 residents. Cutting crime might not be so simple as beefing up ranks. New York has 4.8 cops per 1,000 people; San Diego – which also has low crime rates – has 1.7 cops per 1,000 people.