Chief Garcia: Lull in Violent Crime ‘Not a Touchdown Dance’

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia | Image by Dallas Police Department/Facebook

Despite the recent dip in murders this year, crime remains a growing problem in Dallas.

The crime data showcased by the Dallas Police Department at the Public Safety Committee meeting with City officials earlier this month suggested that the department’s violent crime reduction plan has yielded some gains. The three-phase plan has been running for three years and initially focused policing efforts on smaller hotspot areas citywide. Since July 2022, DPD’s “Place Network Investigations” strategy has been operating in at least five different locations, and since June 2023, its “focused deterrence” strategy has been deployed.

Comparing crime data from the period running from May 1, 2022, to November 30, 2022, to the period running from May 1, 2023, to November 30, 2023, DPD officials noted an overall drop of 12.5% in violent street crime incidents. The number of violent crime victims decreased by 14.4% over this period. Moreover, on average, violent crime declined by more than 40% in the hotspots.

While arguing that DPD’s evaluation of the plan’s impact on violent crime determined things were heading in the right direction, Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia told City leaders during the meeting that there was still a lot of work to be done.

“This is not a celebration,” Garcia said. “This is not a touchdown dance, but this is a time of reflection to see the work that these men and women continue to do.”

“It is a time to double down on our efforts and continue the support for the men and women [in uniform]. As we’re getting close to the summer months, the summer safety program is going to be incredibly important. But this is no time to let down. This is a time to put our foot on the gas,” he said.

An analysis of the crime data by The Dallas Express similarly revealed that some gains have been made in terms of violent crime reduction, with the number of crimes reported in Q1 2024 being the lowest number in any quarter since Q1 2020. There has also been a significant drop in the murder rate this year, with 22 fewer murders reported as of April 12 compared to the year prior.

However, the number of murders in Dallas rose by 15% between 2022 and 2023. It is also noteworthy that there have been more murders logged this year as of April 12 (57) than in the same period in 2020 (48). Unlike some other categories of violent crime, there does not appear to be a stable downward trend.

Moreover, when property crime is accounted for, the picture of criminality in Dallas shifts dramatically. DX found that the number of crimes reported in the city has increased every year from 2020 to 2023, with the dial moving from 105,771 to 110,766 — an almost 5% increase overall. Auto thefts have been of particular concern, with 18,842 incidents reported last year — a 40.5% surge over 2022.

DPD has been laboring under a significant officer shortage, taxing its ability to fight crime and keep response times down. A City analysis recommended a force of 4,000 to maintain public safety, yet DPD fields only around 3,000 sworn officers. It also currently has a budget of only $654 million this fiscal year, with the Dallas City Council opting to spend less taxpayer money on law enforcement than its counterparts in other high-crime jurisdictions, such as New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

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