Homeless Crisis Drives Downtown Assaults, Drug Crimes

Dallas Skyline
Dallas Skyline | Image by f11photo/Shutterstock

A recent report shows that Downtown Dallas continues to have a significantly higher amount of criminal activity than Fort Worth’s city center.

According to an analysis conducted by the Metroplex Civic & Business Association (MCBA), Downtown Dallas saw roughly 12 times more criminal activity during the month of September than Fort Worth’s downtown area. Based on raw incident numbers alone, Dallas outpaced Fort Worth in the number of criminal offenses 392 to 32.

Broken down into various categories of offense, Big D’s city center saw an astonishing 37 times more motor vehicle thefts than Cowtown’s downtown area. Similarly, Dallas’ central district saw 14 times more thefts and six times more assaults than its companion city.

Louis Darrouzet, MCBA’s CEO, spoke with The Dallas Express about the latest numbers, noting the overlap between Dallas’ crime problem and its homelessness and vagrancy crisis.

“There are individuals that end up staying on the street longer, the ones that need addiction support and mental health treatment, the ones stealing to eat. They’re assaulting people to get money. It creates a dynamic where they’re kind of in a fight or flight situation, they’re trying to survive,” said Darrouzet.

More than 80% of respondents to a previous survey registered their concern with the amount of homelessness, vagrancy, and panhandling going on in Dallas, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Such polling also suggests significant support for the “one-stop-shop” strategy employed by San Antonio’s Haven for Hope, which has been credited with reducing homelessness by 77% in the city. Haven for Hope provides housing and supportive services, such as counseling, addiction rehabilitation, and job skills development, all on a single campus.

Mayor Eric Johnson visited Haven for Hope in August, but it remains to be seen whether the mayor or council members will pursue such a strategy.

Darrouzet went on to discuss the City’s response and that of some of the local homeless services nonprofits in the area.

“Think about it like bowling. If people are trying to get off the streets, local government … and organizations doing outreach should act like bumpers,” Darrouzet said. “They should be moving people along a path. Maybe they try to go to this side or that side, but [authorities] should say, ‘No, that’s not okay.’ It moves them in the direction of getting back on their feet.”

A recent poll of Dallas residents showed an overwhelming majority — somewhere around 90% of citizens — believe the Dallas Police Department does not have enough officers to meet the public safety needs of the city. A report by the City of Dallas states the department should have approximately three officers for every 1,000 residents, meaning that DPD needs at least 4,000 officers. Currently, DPD has fewer than 3,200 officers.

“Some cities are just okay if they let the balls fall in and sit in the gutter and just hang out. That’s not a way to help this community,” Darrouzet said.

Out of 182 cities reviewed by WalletHub, Dallas was ranked No.165 for safety. For comparison, Fort Worth came in at 109.

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  1. Downtown leads Dallas in overall criminal activity - […] before reported according to Dallas ExpressDowntown Dallas is plagued by high crime rates, homelessness and […]

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