The Dallas Police Department will soon change the way crimes are counted and reported in order to get a better idea of crime trends.
In some categories, it might look like crime is going up. But the point of the new system is to create a more specific record of the crimes officers are encountering.
Former Highland Park Police Chief Darryl Gant says his department was one of the first in the state to implement the National Incident-Based Reporting System called NIBRS.
"It is manpower-intensive, but it gives a much clearer picture of what's happening out there,” he explained.
For example, if five people are robbed and one is murdered, the new reporting system counts it as five robberies and a murder. Under the system the Dallas Police Department is currently using, the same scenario would only be summarized as a murder because that's the most serious crime.
"It doesn't actually mean that there is more crime,” Fant said. “It's just being reported differently."
The former Highland Park police chief says even though the process involves more paperwork, it gives a more accurate picture of crime trends.
For example, if a large number of people arrested for breaking into cars are also caught with weapons, patrol officers would be on heightened alert for armed suspects involving car burglaries.
Dallas police declined to comment on the launch of the new crime reporting system, but Dallas Mayor Pro-Tem Dwaine Caraway says the new national way of reporting has been in the works for more than a year.
“It was to roll out on the first, but now the chief is crossing the T's and dotting the I’s, doing the training and educating the officers so they will know how to properly utilize this,” he explained.
The program is planned to go into effect next week.