DALLAS — The Dallas Police Department announced the expansion of a community crime reduction strategy called the "Starlight Program."
The initiative is part of a public-private partnership involving DPD, Safer Dallas Better Dallas, Motorola Solutions and some local businesses. With the Starlight Program, business owners add flashing blue light, signage and install surveillance cameras that allow DPD 24/7 and real-time access to the video.
“The Real Time Crime center can assess the scene and provide responding officers with up to the second information about what is going on, who the offenders are, who the complainant is,” said Major James Lewis.
Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall announced the program’s expansion during a press conference outside Chevron Gas Station at 9791 Forest Lane.
Business owner Mohammad Khanani says he believes adding the Starlight Program to his business will help curb some of the crimes that have been keeping customers away.
"We hired off-duty officers, and a lot of spent money,” said Khanani.
Hall announced the program is expanding from three businesses when the pilot launched in November 2019 to a total of seven locations.
In addition to Khanani’s gas station, phase two of the Starlight Program includes the following businesses:
- American Dollar Plus Store at 9770 Forest Lane
- EZ Trip Food Store at 9798 Forest Lane
- Chevron Gas Station at 9791 Forest Lane
- Chevron Gas Station at 2944 N. Buckner Boulevard
DPD said data shows the Starlight Program is showing some positive results.
"Call reduction for police service of 39.6%. That’s amazing. Offense reduction of 35% year-to-date,” said Major Lewis.
Workers at two of the initial Starlight Program locations say they have seen some challenges with police response times. Both say the response has been inconsistent. One manager said his shop is deciding whether it will renew its contract with DPD and the Starlight Program at the end of the year.
Still, city leaders remain optimistic.
"This has been a dangerous place to be, but this doesn’t have to be a dangerous place to be anymore,” Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough said, as he stood in front of the Chevron on Forest Lane.
Business owners like Khanani are also remaining optimistic. He said the Starlight cameras are already working in helping police identify a robber who targeted the American Dollar Plus store last week.
"I know the investment will be returned quick and fast,” said Khanani.
Chief Hall said the department hopes to expand the Starlight Program to 20 businesses by the end of the year.