Dallas Police Chief David Brown at a 2014 appreciation breakfast. (Photo by Danny Fulgencio)

Dallas Police Chief David Brown at a 2014 appreciation breakfast. (Photo by Danny Fulgencio)

Crime is way up and hitting close to home — are police doing their part to address it? 

Citywide, crime is up. As we wrote last week (and in our last magazine before that), for Lake Highlands residents, that increase has hit close to home. In addition to recent reportedly drug-related murders — both at the El Dorado Apartments and another double-homicide (involving a Lake Highlands High School student) on Whitehurst, near Forest Meadow Junior High — we have reported on domestic or family-related killings, such as this one on Valentines Day and another in which a man murdered his aunt. The two types of violent crime, drug and domestic, are the biggest contributors to the city’s 25 homicides since Jan. 1.

(There also have been inexplicable violent crimes — like the unfortunate Sonic employee — and murders — like of this man walking his dog, and if you click on that, the post contains more links to more recent violent crimes)

Vickery Meadow and Forest Audelia hot spots, both covered by the northeast police division, are “taking all the capacity,” he pointed out at a meeting yesterday.
“Last night was just a microcosm of what we’ve seen all year. Two 22 year old kids killing each other over drugs.” (That’s the one on Whitehurst he’s referring to.)
 He also noted that crime spikes during the summer, and unseasonably warm weather this winter may be contributing to the increase. In other words, if things don’t change we can only expect things to get worse.
Police Chief David Brown this week outlined the ways he plans to fight the crime increase, but his plan reportedly is drawing criticism from officers, unions and The Black Police Association.

In a release to the media, Brown outlined the following notes on public safety and plans to improve it. He also met with the city council yesterday to go over things in detail.

“There has been an increase in violent crimes in most large cities across the country. In the city of Dallas, violent crime is up 22 percent, and more specifically, homicides are up over 80 percent driven by domestic violence and drug related homicides.”

“…In response, we are bringing to bear the full force of the police department, in our efforts to save lives,” he adds.

The department will focus on new and rebooted task forces including the violent crime task force, the domestic violence warrant teams, narcotic drug warrant teams, property crime task force, community policing 2.0 and officer foot patrols in high crime areas.

The chief is requiring more police officers to work community policing and communications operations center (911) shifts.

“The CP 2.0 officers work for two consecutive weeks at one of the seven patrol bureau divisions, which they select in a bid process. The officers work third watch hours, 4 p.m. to midnight, which are typically the highest for 9-1-1 calls and violent crimes.”

Essentially, hundreds of officers have been moved around and placed on task forces, and there are signs that many do not support the changes. In fact, The Black Police Association has asked the chief to resign.Brown told the Morning News that he has had disagreements with the leader of that organization, and he “brushed off the call to step down.”

“I just have to focus on doing the job for the citizens of Dallas. And I believe they’re just doing their job. They’re advocates for officers, and officers don’t want their schedules changed,” Brown told the Morning News, which could not reach the Black Police Association’s president for comment.

Mayor Mike Rawlings yesterday says he remains confident in Brown.

Brown earned his stripes as the commander of the northeast division back when things were arguably worse than they are now. Many area oldtimers credit Brown and his Operation Kitchen Sink with helping to clean up the area back in the early 2000s.

As those of us who live near high-crime areas know, public safety is about much more than policing. Safety requires involvement from the neighborhood residents, associations, crime watch groups and supportive nonprofits, something we looked at with a 2014 series we called “Solutions.

We will continue to cover crime and the ways we are addressing it.