Violent crime has been disproportionately affecting communities of color in Dallas for years, prompting activist groups to try to intervene and foster better relations between law enforcement and particular neighborhoods in the city.
As of August 5, there have been 153 murders committed in Dallas in 2023, according to a Dallas Police Department (DPD) report. The Dallas Express cross-referenced the figure against the City of Dallas Open Data crime analytics dashboard’s victim demographics page. According to the data, 53.6% of the city’s murder victims this year were black, and 34% were either Hispanic or Latino.
“You cannot have public safety if you don’t have community and law enforcement and all other stakeholders working together, for real, with a common cause to impact crime and affect [positive change] in neighborhoods,” said Antong Lucky, president of the nonprofit group Urban Specialists.
The organization seeks to “disrupt the trends of violence and poverty by recruiting, training, and deploying changemakers from various backgrounds to positively impact urban communities.”
Lucky sat down with The Dallas Express to discuss Urban Specialists’ project and the changes he has noticed in Dallas in recent years.
A Dallas native with previous life experience in the city’s gang culture, Lucky and other “changemakers” have been working with DPD to stop the violence that has become endemic in the city.
Lucky and others are lending their experience and local credibility to reach out to repeat offenders being released from prison and jail in a bid to connect them with resources and lawful opportunities, so they do not resort to crime. He credited Police Chief Eddie Garcia for supporting Urban Specialists’ efforts.
“I think relationships are happening out of that. People are beginning to trust out of that. … Crime goes down when you have a police chief who is saying, ‘How do we get resources to those individuals that are on the front line doing the work?’ … We have to bring people together and show people where they play a part in the vision to reduce crime,” Lucky said.
He went on to comment on the lack of trust between communities of color and the police, arguing that there is a solution in accountability on both sides.
“Communities of color feel as though there is a blue wall of silence, that there is no accountability of police, that officers sit out and watch their colleagues do heinous stuff. And then you have officers saying to the community, ‘Hey, when something heinous happened, you didn’t tell us who did it.’ That’s a real thing, whether we accept it or not,” Lucky told The Dallas Express.
“It has to be — in law enforcement and the community — lawlessness, no matter where it’s found, cannot be tolerated,” he added.
The Dallas Express will cover more of its conversation with Antong Lucky in subsequent articles.