Dallas, sixth safest large city
Diane Xavier | 10/14/2013, 10:44 a.m.
The Dallas Examiner
Dallas Police Chief David Brown told the Dallas City Council at its briefing meeting held Oct. 2 that the city has come a long way in reducing crime.
“The city of Dallas has had the most significant crime reduction of the largest cities in the nation from the years 2003-2012,” Brown said. “Dallas has reduced its most significant criminal offense reductions of major cities by 45.38 percent followed by Los Angeles with 42.57 percent. Half of that reduction has occurred since 2010.”
The report came after the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently released information regarding crime rates and populations throughout the country.
In the report, Dallas came in sixth place as the safest city in America with populations of 1 million or more.
“Dallas moved from seventh place to sixth place, moving past Chicago in safest major city,” Brown said. “The latest findings show that Dallas is trending to the top.”
Dallas Interim City Manager A.C. Gonzales explained that the FBI also submitted a request when publishing its findings.
“The FBI has also issued that – with the information that we have received – we as cities throughout the country do not compare ourselves to each other,” Gonzales said.
The research looked at how cities fared regarding crime reduction from the years 2003 through 2010.
Brown said the effort to improve Dallas as a safer city began in 2003 after a newspaper article noted “Dallas has No. 1 big-city crime rate with a population of 10 million or more.”
“That finding back then really pushed us and challenged our department in getting out of that spot,” Brown said. “It was really hard to fathom that we were behind Detroit in 2003 for safest major city. We were in 10th place at the time and we were in a deep hole.”
Brown said in 2004, under the leadership of then Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, the department began working on some crime reduction strategies. They created narcotic teams focusing on street level drug dealings and initiated the Drive SMART program to reduce traffic fatalities, created school zones and instituted seat belt ordinances.
They also received the largest Law Enforcement Funding Grant of $15 million through the Communities Foundation of Texas.
As a result of these strategies, Brown said the city moved up from 10th place to ninth place for safest major city.
Then, to help improve crime reduction in Dallas, the City Council approved to hire 600 officers over annual attrition during the fiscal year 2006-2007, and from 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.
“This grew the department significantly,” he reported. “We also created a fusion center and expanded the use of technology. We also discovered that 6 percent of our geography drew 40 percent of our crime.”
In 2010, the city remained in seventh place for safest major city.
“We felt stuck at that place and knew we had to do more,” Brown said. “We started learning how to use crime fighting technologies and also use cameras to fight crimes.”