By Matt Goodman,

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Crime inside the city of Dallas has dropped for the eighth consecutive year, completing a nearly 40 percent decline since 2003, according to a memorandum that will be presented Monday to city leaders.

With Mayor Mike Rawlings standing at his side, Police Chief David Brown briefed residents on the statistics at the first-ever Chief on the Beat event Saturday morning.

Taking place at Eastgate Baptist Church in South Dallas, the event gave community members the chance to meet with the Chief and with other police department heads.

It also offered diabetes testing, blood pressure checks, dental and eye exams and cancer screenings. The goal, Brown said, is to bolster the relationship between police and the public and stop crime before it happens.

“Community policing works,” Brown said, “it’s the smarter way to fight crime. Rather than always being reactive, we’re being proactive.”

The presentation’s bullet points call the eight-year drop “unprecedented” while noting that violent crime inside the city has now dropped for 10 straight years. Year-to-date, violent crime is down about nine percent compared to 2010, the report says.

Dallas is sporting the lowest per capita murder rate in 54 years, and last year marked the lowest number of killings since 1967: 133. In 2010, the city logged 148 murders, the report shows.

Rape fell 16 percent –– there were 437 reported in 2011 compared to 521 in 2010 –– and robbery dropped 14 percent, with 692 reported in 2011 and 807 in 2010. Aggravated assaults also dipped 7.5 percent: 3,710 cases were reported in 2011 compared to 4,011 in 2010.

Overall, crime declined 4.14 percent in 2011, Brown said.

The report attributes the decline to increasing staff; targeting crime “hot spots” in the city; using better technology such as bait cars and surveillance cameras; and events such as Chief on the Beat, which Brown says improves trust among city residents.

Some residents at Saturday’s event remain skeptical of the findings.

“I still think there’s violence going on outside those four percent and are not accounted for,” said Eva Zapletal, a Dallas resident.

Others, however, praised police for their work over the year and for hosting events like the one on Saturday.

“Communication is the basis of all good relationships,” said Stephanie Brimage, a resident. “We have to get to that point first, before we get any further.”

The Public Safety Committee will hear the findings during an 11 a.m. meeting at City Hall Monday.

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