Alleged Ransomware Attack Freezes City Crime Data

Crime Data
Dallas Public Safety Sign | Image by Josh Carter/The Dallas Express

A recent alleged ransomware attack on the City of Dallas’ computer network and servers has hampered the City’s ability to provide members of the public with reliable statistics pertaining to crime in Dallas.

The attack affected multiple City departments and their online services over the last couple of weeks. While some functions have been brought back online, others are still down, including the public-facing crime statistic dashboards, which The Dallas Express relies on to provide its readers with an accurate picture of the state of public safety in the city.

Kristin Lowman, assistant director of media relations for the Dallas Police Department (DPD), told The Dallas Express that the alleged ransomware attack has rendered the dashboards and associated data sets unreliable.

In an emailed statement to The Dallas Express, Lowman said:

“While police response and police services continue as usual, Dallas Police operations continue to be impacted by the outage. This includes department servers used for applications, which affects the reporting of our crime data, including online dashboards.

“The last updates we have received with [year-to-date] and comparative data was prior to the outage in early May. We want to [assure] the public even with these internal difficulties, police response continues across the city. Public safety remains our top priority.”

As previously announced by The Dallas Express, the Murder Victims Graphic displayed on the publication’s home page is meant to keep readers informed of the horrific toll rampant crime takes on the city’s communities of color.

Since its launch in December 2022, the graphic has been periodically updated to keep a running year-to-date count of how many people were murdered in Dallas. Unfortunately, that graphic cannot be updated until the City gets a handle on the alleged ransomware attack and restores functionality to DPD’s relevant computer systems.

In a separate statement received by The Dallas Express, the City claimed that it was making progress in restoring various departmental system functions but suggested it still had a ways to go.

“Given the complexity of checking, cleaning, and restoring interoperability to remaining departmental devices, systems and applications, it will likely take weeks to get back to full functionality,” the statement read.

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