DALLAS — Violent crime is up across the state and all major cities except Dallas. Dallas had one of its safest Octobers in nearly five years.
Dallas has seen a reduction in murders, aggravated assaults and robberies.
Experts say the Dallas Police Department's new crime plan and community outreach is helping drive the numbers down.
Antong Lucky walked us through what was once Doc’s Store, a place where crime was rampant.
”This area right here used to be a magnet for drugs, crime, violence, the whole 9 yards happened fight here,” said Lucky.
Antong along with his organization called Urban Specialists have been working with the Dallas Police Department and Chief Eddie Garcia to bring down crime in the area, and he says it’s working.
”These are guys and girls from the hot spot communities. Some of them used to be drivers of crime but now they made transformations and now help the community,” said Lucky.
For months DPD has been targeting certain grids all over town to bring down violent crime. Chief Garcia says it’s the work of the men and women at DPD but also says he can’t do it without the help of the community.
”It’s about giving people pause when they seen an officer in a neighborhood and maybe they’ll take a deep breath and do something else,” said Garcia.
What Dallas is doing appears to be working.
Statistics just released by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows that across the state violent crime was up, so far, this year. Homicides increased by 35% and aggravated assaults by 15%.
But in Dallas, crime dropped. Murders are down 27% while aggravated assaults dropped 25%.
Criminologist Dr. Michael Smith helped DPD draft it’s crime plan to target the most violent criminals in the most violent areas.
”It’s great news in Dallas. I’m a criminologist so I’m naturally careful and skeptical as a social scientist . I’m cautiously optimistic as we move forward,” said Dr. Smith.
Dr. Smith says crime is up in major cities across the country. He says it’s hard to pinpoint what is causing it to go up. But he says a lack of police officers and anti-police sentiment has given some officers pause.
“I think that has had an impact on police and their willingness to engage and continued economic turmoil that we aren’t out of yet. That is often associated with violent crime,” said Dr. Smith.
Chief Garcia agrees but says his officers are engaged and morale is up but there is a lot of work to be done with fewer officers.
He says the department is not declaring victory especially since a teenage girl was killed this week and they’ve struggled to keep crime down in places like Deep Ellum.
”It’s difficult to scream success when you have tragedy that occurs so we are not screaming success at all. This is journey not a destination,” said Garcia.
Antong Lucky says he believes things are changing.
What was once a hot spot will soon be serving up hot coffee as a new business.
He says together along with police they can turn things around.