DALLAS –– The number of murders in Dallas to date is up compared to this point in 2012, but that does not necessarily mean the city is more dangerous than it has been in past years.
According to crime statistics published in a July 9 City Council report, the overall crime rate in Dallas is still decreasing despite the uptick in murders, which officials say are rarely random.
The total number of murders so far in 2013 has increased almost 28 percent, according to the most recent Dallas City Council Weekly Crime Report. There have been 76 murders counted this year, compared to 61 murders by this time in 2012.
According to the Crime Report, the number of other violent crimes has increased by 4 percent in the past year. Forty percent of the 2012 murders were either drug or gang related.
There are two exceptions: sexual assault, which decreased by 4 percent, and family violence, which decreased by 2 percent. Mayor Mike Rawlings launched a campaign against domestic violence in late last year that coincided with a Dallas police program to get victims of domestic abuse out of harms way.
Rawlings’ aggressive approach against domestic violence garnered the city national attention and coincided with a 5,000-person rally on the steps of Dallas City Hall in March.
The Dallas Police Department declined to comment on the 2013 increase, but in an interview with the Dallas Morning News, Chief David Brown cautioned against overlooking the bigger picture, saying that crime rates are at a 40 to 50 year low.
The violent crime rate decreased in 2012 for the eleventh straight year, according to the 2012 Dallas Crime Summary, a 12-month period that saw the lowest violent crime rate in the city since 1969.
According to statistics from the FBI, the city’s violent crime rates fell from 1,440 per 100,000 people in 1985 to 764.8 per 100,000 in 2010 despite seeing its overall population balloon from about 985,000 to 1.2 million.
Total crime also decreased almost 40 percent from 2003 to 20012: 226 murders in 2003 to 151 in 2012, according to the 2012 Dallas Crime Summary.
The summary reports that there are now more than 500 active watch groups in the Dallas area.