Good news on the crime front: There’s 17.5 percent less crime in the city this year than through April of last year, according to a DMN story citiing police statistics. Crime appears to be falling across the board, with significant reductions in the city’s violent crime (19 percent) and property crimes (17 percent).
A change in the way police report crimes apparently accounts for about five percent of the decrease, with police no longer counting every call as a crime — instead, they’re investigating all calls and finding out that some of them aren’t really crimes in the first place. In prior years, any call was counted in the statistics even if it didn’t turn out to be a crime; this year, only verified crimes are counted.
The DMN story notes that at the current pace, 150 people will have been murdered by the end of the year, which would be the lowest murder number in more than 40 years.
On the budget front, Mayor Tom Leppert and most of the city councilmen who have been quoted on the issue say that they don’t plan to cut police hiring as part of the deficit fix, meaning that an additional 200 officers would be hired again next year. What could be cut are some of the department’s budgeted overtime dollars ($7 million), along with other police-oriented budget items, but Chief David Kunkle told the DMN that he wasn’t overly worried about those cuts at this point because the city is close to being fully staffed with officers, so overtime needs have been reduced.
As an interesting sidenote, another DMN story says that when Kunkle took office in 2004, Dallas had 2,900 police officers; today, we have 3,500. Crime has been falling since Kunkle took over, too, which would certainly seem to indicate that more officers on the street is making a big difference — this is something that Leppert deserves credit for sticking with, because it was part of his mayoral campaign, and he has helped make sure it happened.