Reducing crime in Dallas is our most important job over the next year, and we are already making significant progress.

In fact, the overall crime rate in District 10 has dropped by 11 percent over the previous year; the second highest reduction of any district in the City. I credit our dedicated police chief and his team of hard-working officers, and also tip my hat to our neighbors who have partnered with the police to make a difference. It’s clear that Dallas’ leaders and residents know that the community’s well-being is dependent on a safe and secure environment.

All of us should say thank you every time we see our neighbors patrolling the streets in their capacity as Volunteers in Patrol (VIP). These are the people who work side by side with Northeast Patrol Division officers. These volunteers selflessly give up their time to make our community safer. Each VIP member is trained by the Dallas Police Department to observe, recognize and report suspicious and criminal activity in his neighborhood.

“The VIP members send a clear message that the neighborhood is aware, alert and will not tolerate criminal activity,” Deputy Police Chief Jan Easterling says.

I could not agree more.

If your schedule does not permit joining the Volunteers in Patrol program, there are many other things you can do to help make our community safer. The Northeast Police Division Web site, northeastcrimewatch.org, is a great resource center. Log on to learn about current law enforcement efforts in our district; download an anti-crime handbook; join the Community Emergency Response Team or the Citizen Police Academy; learn how to spot suspicious activity and reduce burglary and theft of motor vehicles; or download crime statistics. I encourage you to use the website to help keep your community, your neighborhood and your streets safe.

With the VIP seeing great results, it was only logical that two concerned citizens, Greg Holiday and Steve Wakefield, would come up with a similar program to monitor code enforcement. Thus, the Volunteers in Code (VIC) program was created. With Greg and Steve working hand in hand with the City Code Department, District 10 was chosen as the pilot area for a VIC program. Once this program is up and running, it will go citywide — another example of the leadership that comes from within our community. 

I challenge you to serve in any way that you can, and watch the ripples spread. It’s up to all of us to keep our community safe.