If it’s summer in Texas, you can be assured three things will happen: The Texas Rangers will fold, it will be hot, and crime will rise. Well, the Rangers are hanging in there, but it’s already hot, and crime is on the way up — way up, unfortunately, if the latest crime stats from Dallas police are to be believed. Here in our neighborhoods, residential burglaries were up 6% and business burglaries were up 37% over last year, according to a story in the DMN today. This comes despite more sophisticated crime tracking by police and, of course, Mayor Leppert’s brilliant move to rescind the Verified Response policy keeping police from chasing their tails on false alarms for businesses.
Thanks to that change, which now results in a strapped police department forced to respond to thousands of false business alarms each year instead of chasing down real crimes, along with the city’s ever-present shortage of officers (500 officers short of the 3 per 1,000 residents ratio the city has targeted) and tough economic times, the bad guys seem to be more plentiful and more desperate, and the police are harder to find.
Couple that with dwindling sales tax collections and a shortage in city budget funds, and we have all of the makings for a pretty stressful summer and fall — and that’s not even taking into account all of the mud-slinging that’s bound to occur as part of the national election cycle. Our council reps have demonstrated dexterity in spending our money lately (see: $500 million taxpayer subsidized hotel convention center owned by the city), but we all know it’s easier and more fun to spend money than save it, so let’s hope they have some Kevlar helmets downtown for the upcoming budget season. And let’s hope crime doesn’t increase so much we’re going to need those helmets ourselves.