Police chief rebuts a recent Dallas Morning News article that questioned the integrity of the Dallas police department’s reporting and classification of certain offenses, namely car burglaries.

The Morning News article points out that apparent burglaries were often reported as “criminal mischief”, and it essentially accuses Dallas police of allowing crime to fall through the cracks in order to make crime statistics look better.

Dallas Chief of Police David Kunkle last week issued a letter to the Mayor and Dallas City Council refuting the DMN investigation.

“I disagree with the premise of this story and believe it is incorrect and misleading,” Kunkle wrote. He defends the Dallas police officers’ current reporting procedures. In order for a crime to be considered a “burglary”, he says, there must be: “unlawful entry into a structure, and with the intent to commit a theft or felony”. If there is no proof of “intent to commit a theft …” then they report it as criminal trespass or criminal mischief.

“In establishing the elements of a crime, I believe the department should not expect its officers to assume or infer intent without adequate evidence,” Kunkle wrote in the letter.

When we ran a story in Lake Highlands Advocate about crime in the violent Forest-Audelia area, I received a call from a neighborhood crime watch chair who said the article was good, but he voiced concerns about police toying with the way they report crimes to make the numbers look better. The Morning News did a pretty thorough job of investigating these types of claims — it’s worth a read anyway.