Dallas police chief praises Starlight crime-fighting program, expands effort

The outgoing Dallas police chief praised a crime-fighting program designed to help police response times in high-crime areas.

Chief Renee Hall says the Starlight program, which launched last fall at three convenience stores, will be expanded. Blue lights alert would-be criminals that there are cameras being monitored remotely by police personnel.

“This provides officers up to the second information about what is going on, who the offenders are, who the complainant is, vehicle information and weapons involved as if they are at the scene,” said Maj. James Lewis, DPD Intelligence Led Policing Division.

Dallas PD officials say the Starlight program has reduced criminal activity by 35 percent and calls for service by 40 percent at the three locations where the cameras were first installed.

Business owner Mohammad Khanani, who paid for the cameras at this business, says they cut down on robberies and drug deals.         

“Customers feel safer, they like it,” Khanani said.

Lewis acknowledged that the starlight program may initially only displace criminals.

“But you have to start somewhere, gain one piece of ground,” Lewis said. “When you make them move outside their comfort zone, disrupt them, make it more likely they will commit errors,” Lewis said.

Dallas city councilman Adam Bazaldua says convenience stores have become hotspots for crime during the pandemic -- making the starlight expansion even more important.

“It will speak volumes that we are making initiatives specifically where we have data to support where crime exists,” Bazaldua said.

Safer Dallas Better Dallas Inc. is looking for foundations, corporations, and individuals who are able to donate money to fund more Starlight cameras in areas where they are needed most.

For more information: http://saferdallas.com/