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MCBA Head Addresses DFW’s Downtown Cop Shortage

Screengrab of MCBA's CEO Louis Darrouzet | Image by Metroplex Civic & Business Association/LinkedIn
Screengrab of MCBA's CEO Louis Darrouzet | Image by Metroplex Civic & Business Association/LinkedIn

Nine times more crime was reported in Downtown Dallas than in Fort Worth’s city center last month.

The latest analysis by the Metroplex Civic & Business Association (MCBA) reinforces the longstanding disparity between the downtown areas of the metroplex’s flagship cities.

A total of 304 crimes were reported in Dallas’ Central Business District in April — up from 247 in March — whereas Fort Worth’s downtown area logged just 32.

Property crime represented the majority of offenses logged in Downtown Dallas, which is part of a wider trend seen citywide, according to the City’s crime analytics dashboard.

Although the City has championed the recent decline in violent crime, the stark contrast between Downtown Dallas and Fort Worth’s downtown area, which is patrolled by a specialized neighborhood police unit and private security guards, suggests that much more work needs to be done.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia suggested as much to City leaders last month, saying, “This is not a celebration. This is not a touchdown dance … It is a time to double down on our efforts and continue the support for the men and women [in uniform].”

As MCBA’s CEO Louis Darrouzet told The Dallas Express, the only way to truly support police is by addressing the critical officer shortage.

“The City just continues to play games. They are not hiring enough police officers on purpose. They’re spending money on things that make it look like their budget is the same or increasing,” he said. “The biggest correction to crime is having a police presence. It’s not even putting people in jail, just having enough people on the street, making people less likely to commit crime, and the City’s not doing that.”

Police response times continue to lag as the Dallas Police Department struggles with around 3,000 uniformed police officers in the field. A City report had previously recommended a force of roughly 4,000 officers to maintain public safety.

According to Darrouzet, the delayed response times are a key reason crime figures are down, suggesting that more crime is happening than is actually being reported.

“You know what makes crime go down? People stop reporting it,” he said. “They don’t care because they feel like the police don’t care. … They don’t want to call the police. Police take hours to get there.”

Darrouzet went on to explain how crime impacts Dallas’ potential as it slips behind North Texas suburbs in terms of attracting businesses and further development.

“The City is doing a great job at creating all these spaces for people to go … they just need to back that up with a stronger police presence. And once they do that, that’s their golden ticket,” he said, pointing to Klyde Warren Park and Discovery Plaza.

“The value of the buildings in downtown will increase, their property tax revenue will increase, more people will move there, they will have more revenue if they fix this problem, but they’re not getting it done,” he added.

There were 116 larceny-theft offenses committed in Downtown Dallas compared to just 14 in Fort Worth’s city center. Meanwhile, 47 vehicles were reported stolen in the former versus only three in the latter.

While no drug violations, weapons violations, vandalism reports, or robberies were logged in Fort Worth’s downtown neighborhood, Downtown Dallas clocked 24, 5, 25, and 4, respectively.

There were also considerably more assaults reported in Downtown Dallas in April — 70 compared to the nine logged in Fort Worth’s city center. This represents a whopping eightfold difference between the two neighborhoods, with at least two people getting assaulted each day on average in Dallas’ Central Business District.

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