Posted on March 1, 2022 by Amanda Cerreto

This article originally appeared in UTSA Today by Ingrid Wright.

Dallas PD MARCH 1, 2022 — While violent crime is rising in many American cities, it is decreasing in Dallas as a direct result of the Dallas Violent Crime Reduction Plan, a crime reduction plan developed collaboratively by criminology and criminal justice professors Michael Smith and Rob Tillyer in the UTSA College for Health, Community and Policy, the Dallas Police Department (DPD) and the City of Dallas.

The comprehensive plan includes evidence-based short, mid and long-term strategies to reduce crime in Dallas' most violence-prone areas and to reduce aggregate levels of brutal offenses citywide.

Violent crime in Dallas had been on the rise in the three years leading up to the Crime plan, rising 14% from 2018 to 2019 and an additional 5% in 2020.

"We are cautiously optimistic at the progress that has been made so far in reducing street-level violence in Dallas."

"The Dallas Police Department values its partnership with UTSA Criminology and Criminal Justice professors Michael Smith and Rob Tillyer. In addition to the hard work of the men and women of this department, Drs. Smith and Tillyer's programmatic and analytic support has proven to be an invaluable resource that is reflected in last year's overall crime success," said Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia .

He added, “Therefore, I remain optimistic in our crime fighting efforts and look forward to both the mid- and long-term strategies of this plan and the positive effect it will bring to our city.”

Smith added, “We are engaged in an ongoing consultation and evaluation partnership with the Dallas Police Department to measure the implementation and effectiveness of the plan in the reduction of violent crime in the city since implementation began in May 2021,” said Smith.

Smith and Tillyer recently presented the results of their evaluation to the Dallas City Council's Public Safety Committee. Their Hot Spot Intervention report details the impact of the plan on violent crime since the plan's inception in May 2021through the end of the year.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Violent street crime decreased more than 50% in the targeted hot spots between September and November of 2021, compared to the previous three months.
  • Violent crime declined more than 50% in the targeted hot spots since the plan began in May 2021.
  • Arrests and violence-related 911 calls also were down 54% and 15% respectively in the targeted hot spots resulting in fewer calls to the police and fewer arrests for violence, indicating that the plan did not result in over-policing.
  • Violent crime overall fell 14.5% in Dallas in 2021 compared to 2020. Homicides were down 12%, robberies were down more than 30% on average, and aggravated assaults were down 2%. This runs counter to the national trend of rising violent crime in many other big cities.
The next phase of the plan is set to begin in the coming weeks and will focus on networks of violent places in Dallas and the structural conditions that give rise to them.

“We are cautiously optimistic at the progress that has been made so far in reducing street-level violence in Dallas. Under the leadership of Chief Garcia and his senior staff, the officers of the Dallas Police Department have done a tremendous job in executing the Crime Plan,” said Smith.

“Each layer of the plan builds upon the previous strategies, and we are hopeful that continued progress can be made. We also are grateful for the partnership with the DPD, City of Dallas and other community stakeholders in reducing the number of victims of violent crime,” he concluded.

UTSA is a Tier One research institution that is committed to tackling the critical societal issues of today and tomorrow. As a learning and research enterprise, UTSA promotes social and economic transformation by channeling innovation and creative discovery in issues including poverty, crime, inequality and upward mobility and global impacts.

— Amanda Cerreto