When interim Dallas Police Chief David Pughes presented the city’s monthly crime statistics to City Council members Monday, one number stood out.
Aggravated assault was up almost 36 percent in the first five weeks of 2017, compared to the same period of the previous year. Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 8, there have been 382 aggravated assaults in Dallas, excluding family violence cases. For the same period in 2016, there were 281.
Pughes told council members the increase is due to a hike in incidents of road rage and drive-by shootings. Road rage incidents are up 175 percent, and drive-by shootings are up 118 percent, Pughes said.
“You’ll get a drive by shooting that might have seven victims,” Pughes told the council’s Public Safety Committee Monday. “The most recent one had seven people inside the he house, so that’s seven different aggravated assault offenses,” regardless of how many were injured.
Gang activity is driving the increase in drive-by shootings, Pughes said. And about half of them occur in DPD’s South Central and Southeast divisions, which cover parts of eastern Oak Cliff between Interstate 35 and Interstate 30.
The department is ramping up efforts to combat gang activity.
Officers from every DPD division will begin rotating into the gang unit for 30-day stints. This gives the gang unit a personnel boost while keeping other divisions up to date on the latest gang intelligence and strategies, Pughes said.
Also, the department discovered recently that there are 231 people living within the South Central and Southeast division boundaries who have active violent felony warrants. So the SWAT unit and other departments are working to round them up and “put them behind bars,” Pughes says.
Find crime statistics the Advocate compiled for our February cover story here.