GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Police in Grand Prairie say major crime is dropping at an unprecedented rate — 19 percent in the last year alone.
Major crimes include homicide, theft and rape. The city’s police chief, Steve Dye, credits the drop to a new strategy.
“In 2018 we decided to do something that was really radically different than just about anything else in the country: evidence-based policing initiative,” Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye said.
To test the initiative’s merits, the chief ran a citywide experiment. On the south side of town, police kept the status quo, a control group if you will. On the north side of town, the new plan was implemented.
Under the initiative, police use technology to identify and then reroute patrols to higher crime areas between calls. The new plan also calls for more community engagement and teamwork, including using emergency crisis volunteers to offer food, water, blankets as well as emotional support.
“It has been a great assistance to both the citizens and to our officers. It relieves them to be able to go about their duties,” said said emergency crisis volunteer Martha Jordan.
Again, the plan was first tried on the north side of town only. Crime dropped 19 percent last year. As a result, the initiative is now being implemented citywide.
“While some of these crime trends follow some of the trends across the country, there are also anomalies in many ways,” Chief Dye said. “While some crime went down, ours went down further. While some crime went up, maybe ours didn’t go up as much.”
According to the chief, places that have seen significant improvement include Nance-James Park. Dye praised the rank and file along with volunteers. But added, despite the historic success, the job is not done.
“We’re probably going to get crime to a level that it’s really going to be hard to lower it any further. But that’s always going to be our goal. Because one crime, is one crime to many,” Chief Dye said.
The city’s mayor, also on hand at the press conference Tuesday, pledged his support.
“To the rank and file, no matter what the state does, we are going to take care of you,” Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen said.
Major crime in Grand Prairie has dropped 47 percent since 2010, according to the police department.