Dallas restaurant owner Joe Groves worries that an unchecked increase in crime in his city’s West End will hamper growth in the area as he moves his restaurant into a much bigger space around the corner. “We're finding that our customer base is afraid to walk two blocks to get to us,” said Groves, president of the West End Association, tells the Dallas Morning News. Still, the police department says crime statistics in 2014 and 2015 are almost identical citywide. Police officials have played down an uptick in violent crime this year, which has put a 12th consecutive year of overall crime reduction in jeopardy. “Dallas is the safest it's ever been,” said Chief David Brown.
Groves said the historical numbers don't matter to those who pump millions of dollars into the areas. “At some point, the balloon is going to pop, not because of the economics alone, but because nobody wants to deal with [crime],” he said. Robberies have nearly doubled this year in the Uptown and Knox-Henderson areas from same time last year. Citywide, robberies have increased 9 percent. Brown has pointed to violent crime increases in other cities this year. He also said the Dallas crime reduction has been so significant in the past decade that police are having a difficult time trying to best themselves each year. “We shouldn't be a victim of our own success,” he said. Activist and real estate developer Tanya Ragan said the police message about low crime doesn't mean much to residents who are accosted on the street. “You can say all you want about stats,” Ragan said. “All people know is what they experience walking down the street.”