The Dallas murder rate was up sharply in 2016, violent crimes increased, and officers continued their exodus from the Dallas Police Department. Not much of that will be fixed in the new year, at least not until a new chief is hired, reports the Dallas Morning News. Homicides jumped 26 percent between 2015 to 2016, from 136 in 2015 to 172 last year. Five of those homicides were officers killed during the July 7 ambush in downtown.
Overall violent crime — which includes murder, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault — rose 11 percent. Interim Police Chief David Pughes shared the numbers in the end-of-year crime report discussed yesterday with the City Council’s public safety committee. Pughes said the crime rate remains low when compared to the city’s population, with the number of total offenses trending downward now for about 12 years. The police department has continued many of the crime-fighting programs started under the former chief David Brown, who retired in October. Officers have increased foot patrols. The department is keeping its police athletics league and other community outreach programs, even as the force is shrinking. The police department has dropped to about 3,200 officers, well below the desired 3,500.