Dallas finished 2012 with 152 murders — a 14 percent increase over the previous year — but the total still ranked among the city's lowest in decades, says the Dallas Morning News. On a per-capita basis, a Dallas resident is about as likely to be killed as in the 1950s, when the city's population was much lower. Police say gang- and drug-related murders accounted for 44 percent of the total in 2012 and killings related to robberies accounted for about 16 percent. Police attributed much of the year's spike in murders to domestic violence-related killings, which they say increased from 10 in 2011 to 26 in 2012.
“You have to take notice that there's something happening with domestic violence murders in Dallas,” said Police Chief David Brown. “I think it's not dissimilar from what's happening across the nation with domestic violence. There's a trending upwards.” John Roman of the Urban Institute said cities like Dallas and New York City have benefited from having less concentrated poverty than cities like Chicago and Detroit. New York City logged one of its lowest murder totals in decades in 2012 while Chicago went in the opposite direction. Brown, the Dallas chief, agrees that economic development in depressed areas plays a role in the improved murder numbers. But he also believes that the department's continuing focus on policing the city's crime hot spots has had a major impact.