Dallas mayor’s crime reduction task force recommendations focus on people, places

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson on Thursday released the final report from the task force he created to reduce violent crime in the city.                              

The report has four priorities that go beyond the police department. The recommendations are community driven and took into account what’s worked in other cities and how actions can be applied in Dallas.

This report on Thursday is not to be confused with recent crime reduction plans released by Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall. They are separate efforts.

Johnson said at a press conference he wants action on the recommendations.

“I want to see these recommendations implemented,” he said.

The first two recommendations tackle place. The first bullet point said there should be rehabilitation and clean up of abandoned buildings and vacant lots. The second states that outdoor lighting should be added in high crime areas.

The other recommendations address people. It suggests teaching kids in school how to resolve conflict without resorting to violence. The report also says “violence interrupters” should be hired, adding that former gang members or ex-offenders could be trained to identify conflicts and intervene.

“Crime is both about place and people,” said Dr. Alex Piquero, UT Dallas Professor of Criminology, who was on the task force. “There are individuals who grew up in these communities and want to do better for those areas.”

The mayor says funding could come from the city, but sees a clear opportunity for the private sector.

“These are things that absolutely we could use help with from our philanthropic community and from our businesses,” Johnson said.

The task force was created last summer in the wake of the shooting death of Brandoniya Bennett, 9, in her own family’s townhome.

“All of us want the exact same outcome so let’s just sit down put the resources into this and get the job done,” Piquero said.