DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Police Department is targeting 31 high crime areas in an effort to prevent crimes from happening in the first place.
It’s all part of the department’s strategic plan.
The 31 areas cover nearly 30 square miles or about 7 percent of the city.
However, about 30 percent of all of the crimes in the city are committed in these areas.
Dallas Police say the program is about ten years old and has reduced crime.
This year, the department has adjusted some of the areas it’s targeting.
Monika Person, a single mother of two, lives in one of the areas near Ledbetter and Sunnyvale in Oak Cliff.
She told us, “I’ve seen some of the craziest things happen over here.”
When we met her, she was walking to the bus stop, on her way to work.
But she said she grows concerned after she gets off the bus at night — walking back to her Oak Cliff apartment. “I worry about someone running up on me, if anything, I just pray about it.”
The department created the 31 locations after an analysis of violent and property crimes and figuring out where gang members and parolees live.
First Executive Assistant Chief David Pughes said, “It really gives us the ability to focus very narrowly on where the crimes are occurring, the people committing the crimes, where are they living at, what can we do to make a better presence in those areas to try to prevent crime in the first place.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Dwaine Caraway represents Monika Person’s neighborhood, and sounded the alarm during the council’s Public Safety Committee meeting. “I’m not getting on police at all. I know that you’re doing what you got to do. I just want help and I got to push so you all can understand this stuff has gotten out of control over here where I am and these gangs, they’re running it. We’re not in control.”
Person said she believes the police can’t do everything. “It’s rough. It could use some better church services, things for the kids, more help and protection for older people.”
Also Monday, Chief Pughes said the department will activate a new vice unit this summer.
Last fall, the old unit that handled gambling and prostitution was temporarily suspended amid an investigation into its practices.
Chief Pughes said the internal investigation is ongoing.
He told me some narcotics officers and others are conducting the operations. “Some of the other operations are being done by the individual deployment squads, undercovers at the patrol divisions and the crime response teams to try to fill that gap.”