Assaults Nearly Double in Southern Dallas; DPD Details Five

Pair of handcuffs | Image by Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

Simple assaults nearly doubled in March in District 8, resulting in Dallas Council Member Tennell Atkins appearing as the runner-up for The Dallas Express‘ Crime Boss nomination.

Although Council Member Chad West (District 1) was named April’s Crime Boss for a crime score of 28.4%, Atkins placed second with a score of 15.1%. The southernmost council district in Dallas beat the citywide average of homicides, assaults, and drug offenses in March.

Compared to March 2023, District 8 also saw a 46% spike in simple assaults and a 36.7% increase in motor vehicle thefts, according to data from the City’s crime analytics dashboard. Overall, 676 crimes were clocked in March 2024 compared to 661 logged the year prior.

One of the most heinous offenses seen in District 8 in March was the killing of a woman who was in a vehicle targeted and crashed by an alleged thief.

As reported by DX, 26-year-old Darion Thomas allegedly stole a vehicle at a gas station located in the 100 block of Murdock Road sometime before 12:50 a.m. on March 10. He reportedly saw two of the vehicle’s occupants enter the store, and he hopped into the driver’s seat. However, the vehicle was not empty: 32-year-old Karen Mariela Cardona had been sleeping in the backseat.

Thomas allegedly took a turn too fast and crashed into a utility pole, resulting in both he and Cardona being ejected from the vehicle. Thomas ended up with two broken legs, and Cardona died.

While motor vehicle theft significantly drove District 8’s high crime score, simple assaults saw the largest increase, with 147 offenses reported in March 2024 compared to 100 in March 2023. City crime data categorized 105 of these assaults as family violence offenses.

The Dallas Police Department provided DX with additional information about some of the March assaults in District 8. More minor offenses involved a female suspect allegedly hitting a man in the leg with her car in the 100 block of East Camp Wisdom Road and a man being kicked and hit in the face by another man in the 1100 block of Warrior Drive.

In both incidents, the alleged assailants were not identified.

Additionally, DPD responded to several calls that involved shooting in District 8 in March — two of which occurred within the span of four days.

Officers found a male victim at the scene of one shooting in the 400 block of Bluewood Drive on March 14. The victim, 56-year-old Timothy Gantt, was hospitalized but died a few days later. Homicide detectives subsequently identified 59-year-old Benjamin Edwards, who was already in Dallas County jail on a separate offense, as the alleged shooter.

On March 18, DPD officers responded to reports of a shooting in the 6300 block of Hidden Trails Drive and found an injured female victim. She was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Police are still trying to find the shooter.

DPD is trying to deploy its violent crime reduction plan amid a significant staffing shortage. Only around 3,000 DPD officers are fielded, although a City analysis recommended a force of around 4,000 to ensure public safety.

Moreover, Dallas City leaders recently approved a budget of $654 million for DPD this fiscal year, which is far less than the spending on police seen in other high-crime municipalities, such as Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles.

The Dallas Express, The People’s Paper, believes important information about the City, such as crime rates and trends, should be easily accessible. According to data from the FBI’s UCR database, Dallas has more crime per capita than hotspots like Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York.

How did your area stack up on crime? Check out our interactive Crime Map to compare all Dallas City Council Districts. Curious how we got our numbers? Check out our methodology page here.

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