DALLAS — The city of Dallas is funding $4.5 million in public safety initiatives, including addressing vacant lots, low-lighting in high crime areas and citizen-based anti-crime prevention strategies, officials announced Monday.
The recommendations were made by the Mayor’s Task Force on Safer Communities and will be supported by the city and Dallas Independent School District.
During Monday's press conference, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and members of the Task Force stood before large photographic images of several young people who have been killed by acts of senseless violence in some of the city’s high crime areas.
"Violent crime remains unacceptably high in our city," Mayor Eric Johnson said during a press conference outside South Oak Cliff High School. "We still have too many murders and aggravated assaults."
The Task Force recommended the city adopt violence prevention programs including tackling blight, improving street lighting, and adding citizen-based anti-crime prevention strategies. City leaders approved funding those initiatives to the tune of about $4.5 million.
Of the funding, the city is setting aside $1.7 million to remediate blight and address abandoned buildings and vacant lots in high crime areas. About $2 million has been allocated for outdoor lighting. Violence interruption programs will get $800,000 in funding.
Outside of those initiatives, Dallas ISD is also funding the Task Force’s recommendation in expanding social-emotional learning programs in its schools.
Dallas ISD Trustee Pastor Maxie Johnson said he knows first-hand the devastation the plague shootings and community violence brings. His son, Christopher, was shot and killed in August 2019. Johnson says he supports the city and school district addressing the four initiatives.
"It is huge," Johnson explained. "It says that we are tackling tough issues in our communities. Especially the Black and brown communities."
The mayor said support of the Task Force recommendations is a start. However, the work is not over.