Dallas police officials are touting 10 consecutive years of crime reduction, says the Dallas Morning News. While changes in reporting practices have artificially enhanced some decreases, Hamilton Park Civic League president Thomas Jefferson said the drop feels real. “The turnaround really started happening about six, seven, eight years ago,” he said. “We started seeing things were changing. We started having less problems with street walkers and vagrancy. We stopped having all these drive-bys, kids acting stupid, shooting in the air and all that kind of stuff.” Whether the changes are due to an improving economy, more officers on the street, added technology, new policing strategies or changes in the definitions of crimes, officials and residents say it’s certain that by nearly every measure, Dallas has seen a big crime turnaround in a decade.
Chief David Brown credited a “team effort” involving hard work by officers, businesses and city officials, as well as private philanthropy. Violent crime has dropped 50 percent since 2003, say police data. The downward trend continued in 2013, when murders fell to 142, down from 154 in 2012 and way down from 226 in 2003. Criminologist Denise Paquette Boots of the University of Texas at Dallas, said the city's violent crime trends of the past decade reflect what has happened nationally. She cautioned against reading too much into the statistics. “To me, the actual crime rates do give a picture, but what matters is people's perception of how safe the places they frequent are,” she said. “To be quite honest, there are pockets even in Dallas where people are forced to live and work where crime is still a daily struggle for them.”