Dallas has recorded 135 homicide victims this year as the city is expected to reach its highest homicide rate in more than a decade. Other large Texas cities such as Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi are on pace for declines. After Dallas experienced 40 killings in May — its highest monthly total since the 1990s — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the state’s Department of Public Safety to send state troopers to reduce violent crime in a city that has struggled for years with a massive shortage of police officers. Since the troopers’ arrival, they’ve seized more than 70 guns. Violent crime — though still up compared with last year — has also dropped by nearly 30 percent in the areas where they’re deployed, the Texas Tribune reports.
Some city officials now say the troopers are doing more harm than good as many residents complain that they are over-policing neighborhoods, questioning people about their immigration status, and stopping people for soon-to-expire, but still valid, inspection stickers. Dallas City Council member Adam Bazaldua called for Dallas police to pull state troopers from his district, where residents are more likely to live in poverty and be people of color. Even before that tension boiled over into public view, people were attributing the homicide spike to city officials’ and law enforcement’s historically lackluster engagement with such residents. Others point to understaffing in the Dallas Police Department’s homicide unit. While the pace of slayings has slowed since May, Dallas is still on pace to experience nearly 220 homicides this year. The city hasn’t reached that figure in any one year in more than a decade.