DALLAS — After pledging to reconsider his controversial theft policy, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot fulfilled the promise and quietly rescinded it over the weekend.
“I want the people of Dallas County and our partner police agencies to know that I have heard their concerns, and I will change when change is needed, so to that end, I am rescinding the policy. My assistants and I will use our discretion to prosecute those who deserve it and utilize our strengthened Pre-Trial Intervention programs and other community resources to get vulnerable populations the help they need. The policy change is effective immediately,” Creuzot said in a statement to WFAA.
During his first term, Creuzot instructed assistant district attorneys not to prosecute people for stealing items like food, diapers, or baby formula valued between $100 and $750 unless those individuals tried to resell them.
Critics immediately pounced saying the district attorney was letting criminals go free if they stole anything under $750.
But last month, during his re-election campaign, Creuzot told WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics that he would reconsider the policy.
“Like anything else that’s neutral, but controversial, I think in the near future we’ll have to consider whether we’ll keep it,” the Democrat said on the Sunday morning program, October 9th. “If we can’t show that it’s having any impact one way or the other, but people have a negative opinion about it, I think if I did that right now, I’d be accused of crass politicism or whatever. But I’m certainly open to it.”
It was not public pressure, Creuzot said, but data that drove his decision.
Prosecutors only rejected 13 such cases out of more than 1,000 last year, he added.
“Through data analysis and conversations with community organizations, retailers, and independent loss prevention specialists, I found the policy had zero effect on crime in the county – positive or negative. I have come to the understanding that this policy is more aspirational than realistic and rather than helping those in need, I have watched that population, and primarily people of color, be blamed for a rise in crime,” Creuzot continued this weekend in his statement to WFAA.
He easily won re-election to a second term this month with almost 60% of the vote.