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Dallas police department reveals summer initiative to reduce rise in aggravated assaults

Aggravated assaults, unrelated to family violence, have risen by 35% so far this year compared to year-to-date data of 2019.

After a 35% increase in aggravated assaults across the city of Dallas, the police department is aiming to reduce crime through a data-driven summer initiative plan.

Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall presented the plan to the city's Public Safety Committee Monday afternoon.

Aggravated assaults, unrelated to family violence, have risen by 35% so far this year compared to year-to-date data of 2019.

One of the department's focuses for the summer crime initiative is to look at data on where and when most aggravated assaults are occurring in a division and increasing patrol and officers in that area through the department's different operation plans.

There has been an overall 5% reduction in homicides across all divisions since January, Hall said. Overall crime is down by -1.21% as of May 1.

Credit: City of Dallas

So far this year, the department has seen a rise in aggravated assault in each of the department’s patrol divisions.

“We have a lot more work to do," Hall said.

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The department noted that other large and smaller cities have also experienced an increase in aggravated assaults: Chicago is up 6.7%, Houston is up 19.3% and New York is up 2.3%.

Aggravated assaults are driven by argument/conflict and narcotics with 66% of all aggravated assaults occurring in the southeast, southwest and south-central patrol division, Hall said in the meeting.

The department's summer crime initiative, which began on April 27 and concludes at the end of August, includes a data-driven enforcement approach, meaning citywide data indicates multi-family locations and times and days of the week for aggravated assaults. Many of the offenses occur between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m., the department said. 

The department will use the data to target the locations for three operations: Operation Repeat, Operation Beat/Street and Operation Over/Under. 

Credit: City of Dallas

Patrol divisions will identify those strategic locations, such as apartment complexes, within their division that have experienced the highest number of aggravated assaults each week.

So far this year, Operation Over/Under, which was conducted in the Southeast Division, led to 24 felony arrests, 21 traffic stops and 51 pedestrian stops.

The department will also increase felony warrant apprehension operations and increase roundups to two per month during the summer crime initiative. The goal is to apprehend 25% of the top 60 most violent wanted persons pursued.

Youth engagement is another summer initiative, which Hall said is challenging during the coronavirus pandemic since many facilities are closed. The department also knows that every child doesn’t have the same access to technology if they were to move those meetings online, Hall said.

For youth engagement, the department has Explorers, Jr. Explorers, and the Police Activities League staff, along with partnerships with Big Thought, the Parks and Recreation Department and other nonprofits.

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