DALLAS -- Paul Landfair considers himself semi-retired, but that doesn't mean he's slowed down.
The database designer has taken his duty on a neighborhood crime watch group to a whole new level. Inside his home, he collects and collates crime statistics and puts it into a format that neighborhoods can understand.
“I’m helping the crime watch people see what’s going on in their neighborhoods,” Landfair said.
He’s been doing it for more than eight years and currently works with 135 neighborhoods - or close to 31,000 people - in North Texas. It’s a service he offers for free, but lately, his job has gotten harder.
“I’m sort of on vacation right now,” Landfair said.
The data he normally gets from the Dallas Police Department isn’t available. DPD is having major issues with its new records system.
The police department already warned Landfair that the site where crime stats are retrieved from would be offline during the transition. But Landfair wonders whether the recent hiccups may exacerbate the issue and move the timeline for a fix.
In the meantime, he’s been in constant contact with neighborhood groups.
“Easily 70 to 80 percent responded back saying, 'We can’t live without it, let us know the instant it’s back up,'” Landfair said.
Hundreds of reports went unprocessed. These are reports that Paul relies on, and the neighborhoods, too.
“We recognize that is not acceptable. We won’t accept it," said Dallas Police Chief David Brown. "We’re highly frustrated, but we’re doing all we can to make it right."
Cases were funneled to the wrong units, and now the department is spending massive overtime to correct it.
“My biggest concern is that we’re not spending enough money on IT. This is an IT issue,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.
What may just be an IT issue could be a very serious public safety problem. At least 25 prisoners were set free because of the delays, and eight of them were violent offenders.
Dallas resident Misty Boston doesn’t want to hear that. She said that’s why she needs the community updates from her neighborhood crime watch group and people like Landfair.
“We depend on things like that. We make those decisions before we move into a neighborhood,” Boston said.
It’s still unclear how long it will take to get daily crime stats back online, but Landfair said he was told earlier it may take 30 days.