Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson appeared on Fox News on Tuesday to tout a new poll that suggests Americans view Dallas as the safest big city in the United States.
“We’re happy to see that’s how Americans view our city,” Johnson said. “But really, it makes me really proud of our police department. The Dallas Police Department has worked really, really hard to throw the kitchen sink at violent crime.”
The poll, published on Monday by Gallup, found that 74% of respondents view Dallas as safe to live in or visit. Following Dallas were Boston, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Miami, rounding out the top five safest cities based on perception.
Citing crime data, Johnson claimed in the interview that Dallas has been the only major city to see a decrease in every FBI measure of violent crime over each of the last two years. He said the key to such success has been to ensure the police department knows the community has their back.
“We’ve worked really, really closely with the community here in Dallas to make sure that our police feel supported throughout this time when a lot of people have talked about defunding the police and questioning the role that law enforcement plays in making a city great,” Johnson said. “We’ve doubled down on law enforcement here in Dallas, and we’ve made public safety our top priority.”
Between 2020 and 2022, murders fell by 15.7%, rapes dropped by 32%, and aggravated assaults decreased by 4.1%, according to crime data cited by Fox News during the interview.
Still, murders have been up year over year by almost 5% as of August 23, and there have been steep increases in motor vehicle thefts (35%) and shoplifting (56%), according to the City of Dallas Open Data crime overview dashboard.
Additionally, the Dallas Police Department has been enduring a severe staffing shortage for some time now. There are currently only around 3,100 police officers deployed in the city, roughly 900 short of the 4,000 recommended by a City report that claims Dallas needs approximately three officers for every 1,000 residents.
Johnson attributed the reduction in violent crime to the department’s focus on high-crime areas, a tactic known as “hot spot policing.”
“I learned that when it comes to public safety, you have to be willing to tell the hard truths and to do the work that’s required to actually push back on the criminal element in your city,” Johnson said. “The reality is there are people who question the value of hot spot policing, which is the basis of our crime reduction plan that has shown the tremendous results we have seen.”
However, Sgt. Sheldon Smith, president of the National Black Police Association’s Dallas chapter, said in an interview with CBS News Texas, “I don’t really believe that we should tout that crime is down and all is well because we have families that are losing members and people dying weekly in this city.”