Dallas mayoral candidate have different ideas about how to fix the city’s crime problem, says the Dallas Morning News. Banker and former Mayor Pro Tem Max Wells proposes a citywide “anti-crime district” funded either by a dedicated sales or property tax increase. Wells estimates his half-cent sales tax increase, which would require state legislative approval, would generate about $100 million annually for public safety improvements, while his suggested property tax increase would provide a yearly $50 million. Former Turner Corp. chairman Tom Leppert says his administration would promote a tough-on-crime approach that rivaled any other. He won’t say exactly how many new officers he wants to hire, but says he wants Dallas to employ three officers for every 1,000 residents – a level that would require hundreds more than the city employs today. Lawyer and 1995 mayoral election runner-up Darrell Jordan argues that “we can fight crime within the confines of our expanding economic base. I don’t think it’ll require any tax increases, and I don’t think people want to hear about tax increases.”
For Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill, any candidate who builds a crime strategy on hiring more police officers is touting a plan “that’s short-sighted, and one that’s not going to get our crime rate down.” Hill says he sees crime as an economic issue: Develop poverty-stricken parts of Dallas, and watch crime decrease. Candidates’ crime plans will significantly factor into who Dallasites elect on either May 12 – the general election – or June 16, a scheduled runoff election. A Dallas Morning News poll this month indicates about one-third of city residents consider crime the single most important issue facing Dallas – almost twice as many who cited the second-most popular response, economic development.