Dallas PD closes out year with violent crime spike as search continues for new police chief

The Dallas Police Department gave its final update to city council members about the rise in violent crime in the city.

The department started the year with a plan to reduce violent crime. Instead, crime went up, and the police chief is headed out.

The city of Dallas had nearly 500 aggravated assaults last month alone and aggravated assaults were up 25% this year compared to last.

Dallas PD set a goal of reducing violent crime by 55 but say they continue to see challenges with aggravated assaults and homicides.

As Dallas closes out 2020, the stats from Dallas police show the city is seeing more violent crime this year than last with 225 homicides so far. That’s nearly 40 more than in 2019.

Aggravated assaults are also up this year, but there has been a drop in burglaries and robberies.

“An offender has been processed, released and they’re coming back out and committed the same offense,” said Dallas City Councilwoman Carolyn Arnold. “For DPD to be held accountable for some of these numbers, you can see that’s frustrating too because as you see these numbers go up, you’re holding the Dallas police chief accountable and you’re holding these precincts accountable as well.”

Dallas police say they’re conducting warrant round-ups twice a month, seized more guns and drugs off the streets last month and are adding detectives to their capers unit.

During Monday’s public safety committee, there was also discussion about bail reform, communicating more information about offenders among police, the district attorney’s office and the magistrates when setting appropriate bail.

“One of the concerns I have in these discussions about crime is it’s reactive and not proactive. In this community and in all the communities in the United States, crime is up everywhere in the United States. I’m not sure any of us quite know why,” said Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot. “But if we’re going to get ahead of this, we’re going to have to look at our communities differently.”

Reducing violent crime is the number one quality citizens are looking for in the new Dallas police chief, according to more than 4,500 survey responses the city got back from the public.

The city has hired a firm to help search for a new police chief. The city is feeling pressure to choose a new chief before the end of the year –

“This search was intentionally sped up because of the competition we’re seeing nationally,” said Gary Peterson with Public Sector Search & Consulting. “I was aware of that, that’s why we compressed some items so we could be ahead of some cities.”

“What is going to make this chief different than the chief we chose in 2017?” asked Dallas City Councilmember David Blewett.

“It is a different time and you’re talking about different people in the pool and based the individual and what the city wants, what the city needs to have to happen,” Peterson said. “That’s what the panelists should be looking at what the city needs right now, not what the city needed three years ago.”

The finalists will be interviewed by several panels made up of representatives from different local organizations.

On Wednesday, there will be a public interview forum that will be live-streamed on the city’s website and social media. On Thursday, the city manager will personally interview the candidates.