Police Brief Dallas Officials on Staffing, Violent Crime

Dallas Crime
Screengrab of Dallas police Chief Eddie Garcia, Major Jason Scoggins and Kevin Oden, director of Integrated Public Safety Solutions | Image by City of Dallas

Police officials briefed the Public Safety Committee on the Dallas Police Department’s recruitment efforts and violent crime reduction plan on Monday.

“Overall, the violent crime rate for the city of Dallas is down just over 17%,” Maj. Jason Scoggins said. “These numbers, again, are through the end of May. Aggravated assaults decreased 22.24%, and homicides almost 27%. I mean, that’s awesome in our eyes right now.”

A new report shows that both categories of crime were “two huge contributing factors” in the year-to-date data. Additionally, robberies of individuals were down 10%, however, business robberies increased by more than 22%.

“As the major mentioned, the top line number of violent crime rate in the city continues to trend in a very positive direction,” said Kevin Oden, director of Integrated Public Safety Solutions.

The Dallas Express reported last month that violent crime was down 18% compared to the same period a year ago.

“Going now into the summer months, there’s no question these are challenging times,” Police Chief Eddie Garcia said on Monday. “This is not time for celebration … but we have to double down on our efforts. We are a victim of our own success. Yes, we are in a positive place, but we are nowhere near where we want to be as a city yet.”

As previously reported by DX, while violent crime has been on the decline, overall crime has steadily increased over the last several years. Motor vehicle thefts, for instance, have hit record-breaking heights, and Downtown Dallas remains rife with criminal activity.

The four types of offenses considered to be violent crimes are robbery, murder-nonnegligent homicide, aggravated assault, and rape, as defined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The foundation of the City’s violent crime reduction plan is the mapping of hot spot crime grids of 330 by 330 feet — roughly the size of a football field — assigned to patrol units, The Dallas Express reported in February. On June 1, DPD began work in its 16th phase of the grids, adjusted about every 60 days based on an analysis of crime data across Dallas.

DPD only has about 3,000 officers in the field, The Dallas Express has reported. A City report recommends a force of 4,000 to properly ensure public safety. Its budget of $654 million is less than that of law enforcement agencies in other high-crime jurisdictions, such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

In DPD’s monthly recruiting and retention report, Major Pollyanna Ashford said the most recent police academy class included the goal of 50 recruits.

“For the month of May, police applicants that were referred by civil service were 112,” she said. “We had 65 applicants pass or … enter the background process. We are projecting 50-plus in there [in July]. We have 16 currently slated for July 17.”

For the current fiscal year, 785 applicants have been referred by civil service, that is, by City employees through the City’s pilot referral and retention program. Of those, 133 have entered the police academy, Ashford said.

In May, “our recruiters attended 24 events,” she said. “We had 55 applicants show up at headquarters for the initial on-site testing phase.”

Applicants must successfully complete background checks, including psychological and medical exams, electronic fingerprinting, and drug screening, before entering Phase 2 of the hiring process.

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