Chicago’s zero-tolerance crime strategy has become a model for the Dallas Police Department, reports the Dallas Morning News. This summer, police there began freeing up officers to flood high-crime areas and revamping accountability meetings. They plan to install surveillance cameras to monitor drug-dealing locations. If all goes well, Dallas hopes it can duplicate Chicago’s 25 percent decline in murders in just one year. But it might not be easy. The Dallas Police Department struggles to break down bureaucratic barriers to criminal intelligence. And Chicago has more than four times as many officers.
In Dallas, commanders have struggled for years to get officers to share criminal information. Until recently, a homicide detective had to separately call the gang, narcotics and intelligence units and six area investigative units to gather all the information on a suspect. He would then have to search prior cases one by one to find accomplices. But things are changing. The department has recently built a data clearinghouse where officers can do a search using a name and get information from all units. It’s not as comprehensive as Chicago’s, but it’s an improvement. In Chicago, accountability is reinforced up and down the ranks. Commanders question sergeants about every shooting, and the sergeants then hammer their troops with the same message: Stop the next killing before it happens by finding the guns and drugs gangbangers use to support their violence.