DART sees 18% increase in crime so far this year as ridership grows

New crime data from DART shows another increase in crime reporting in the first three months of this year compared to last year. That includes assaults, thefts and more.

DART did not respond to a request we made a few days ago for an on-camera interview. However, we spoke with a man who was up close to a frightening scene involving a machete on the transit.

Tommy Starks will never forget the morning of May 8 when a man used a machete to threaten passengers and hit a train. He called 911 for help. Dallas Fire-Rescue evaluated the man. He was taken to a hospital on an emergency mental health detention.

"I want to see a stronger presence of security in the morning time," he said.

According to DART’s latest quarterly data, crime is up 18% from January through March compared to the same time last year. Assaults, drug and theft offenses increased. 

However, DART says there’s context.

It’s seeing a significant increase in ridership. It also added 100 armed security guards to ride trains and spot crimes in addition to its police force.

DART received 437 priority one calls during the first three months of 2023. During the three months of this year, calls more than doubled to 1,055. 

There’s no data provided to FOX 4 that truly shows if DART’s increase in security is leading to those calls.

Still, despite the call volume, DART’s data reveals it’s cutting response times in half from about eight minutes to four minutes.


DART reports 25% increase in crime for 2023

FOX 4 obtained crime statistics from DART that show a significant rise in crime on its trains and at its stations last year.

"There’s people sleeping in there, which I understand they need a place to sleep," Starks said. "But we’re going to work, and they’re doing drugs. There’s people that are drugged up."

Starks reached out to FOX 4 after seeing our previous coverage of violent crimes on DART: a passenger pistol-whipping another passenger, drug use, an assault of a security officer which led to a shooting, and a man suspected of beating multiple people with objects, like a hammer.

Starks says another passenger threatened to shoot the man who had a machete in an effort to protect others. 

"So here I am in the middle of this guy with a machete and a guy behind me with a gun," he recalled. "And I’m just trying to go to work at 5:30 in the morning."

The day after the machete incident, DART said it would investigate to see if the machete caused any damage to the train. If so, an offense would be filed. 

FOX 4 reached out to DART multiple times over the past week to see if there was a criminal charge in that case. It has not provided an answer. 


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