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Drugs, Auto Thefts Continue To Wreak Havoc on Dallas

Dallas Police Unit | Image by Fox 4
Dallas Police Unit | Image by Fox 4

Although Dallas police and City officials have been celebrating the recent gains made in terms of violent crime reduction, auto thefts and drug offenses are up.

Motor vehicle theft has seen a meteoric jump in many parts of the country, with one study by the Council of Criminal Justice logging a 105% surge from 2019 to 2023 across a sample of U.S. cities. Rochester, New York, clocked the highest year-over-year increase in motor vehicle theft between 2022 and 2023, logging a whopping 248% hike. While the 40.6% bump seen in motor vehicle theft in Dallas during that same period pales in comparison, the sheer quantity of stolen vehicle reports filed — 18,854 — was unprecedented for the city.

Currently, the number of vehicles reported stolen in 2024 is outpacing last year by 3.4%, with certain parts of Dallas — such as DPD Sector 130, which comprises the Central Business District and Victory Park — seeing steady increases, according to data from the City’s crime analytics dashboard. Sector 130 leads the City with 291 reports of motor vehicle theft this year as of May 5 — a 7% increase year over year. Sector 410 comes in second with 277 reports filed for a 17.9% increase.

The Dallas ExpressCrime Boss for the month of April, Council Member Chad West (District 1), has seen a 31.5% increase in motor vehicle theft in his council district so far this year.

Drug crimes are also on the rise, up by 2.4% citywide compared to the same period last year. While drug crimes in most council districts are trending downwards, Council Member Adam Bazaldua’s District 7 has seen a 58.7% increase compared to 2023. District 7 places second with 481 drug offenses clocked, behind only Council Member Omar Narvaez’s District 6, which leads with 483 reports.

Despite attempts to curb the traffic of drugs — especially the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl — the number of drug offenses and overdoses across the region indicate that the crisis rages on.

The Dallas Police Department has been suffering from a longstanding officer shortage, which may be contributing to the rise in certain categories of crime. A City report previously recommended a force of roughly 4,000 officers to adequately ensure public safety and respond to service needs. However, the department fields only around 3,000 officers.

City leaders opted to budget just $654 million to DPD this fiscal year, far less than the spending approved for police in other high-crime jurisdictions of similar-sized cities nationwide.

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

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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