Dallas’ homicide rate is down 8.1 percent and overall crime has fallen 3.4 percent this year compared with the same period in 2004, says the Dallas Morning News. The police department is not on track to meet ambitious crime-cutting goals set by the chief of police, but the trend is still reassuring to City Manager Mary Suhm. Police Chief David Kunkle hoped to reduce homicides by 20 percent and overall crime by 10 percent by the end of the year. “I’d like to think that our policing strategies are making a difference,” Kunkle said. He attributed some of the gains to the 60-officer Operation Disruption task force formed in July to sweep some of the city’s most crime-ridden areas and the use of overtime money to put extra officers on the streets on weekend nights and at other peak hours.
The condition of the patrol fleet of about 700 cars improved greatly with the addition of more than 300 new squad cars. First Assistant Chief David Brown has pushed commanders to focus on violent crime, repeat offenders, crime-ridden properties and minor crimes, such as public intoxication, that can lead to violent crime. Brown has instituted almost daily crime meetings with the patrol, investigative and narcotics deputy chiefs and assistant chiefs who report to him. “It’s very time consuming, but it’s a good thing,” said Deputy Chief Patricia Paulhill, who commands the southeast division, the area with the city’s highest crime rate. “I didn’t have to go out and beg for resources from narcotics or the gang unit.” It’s bringing a “mind-set change” to patrol. Instead of making excuses about not having enough officers, commanders are looking for solutions, she said.