Major Malik Aziz shares crime stats with the crowd at Monday’s crime meeting

Attending Monday’s crime meeting felt, at times, like being the middle knot in a tug-of-war. Law enforcement officials participating in the Project Safe Neighborhoods crime-fighting initiative said the picture is not as bleak as news reports and chatter on Nextdoor.com make it appear. Their partnership of federal, state and local authorities has netted hundreds of arrests in its first year, and they’re using federal courts to gain longer sentences and keep bad guys out of Lake Highlands longer. Attendees who raised questions at the microphone, though, and others who chattered among themselves said stats don’t reflect reality since citizens have long tired of calling 911. They wondered aloud about calling authorities to report indistinct gunshots at night or cars broken into on the street. With Dallas Police Department ranks down hundreds of officers and such crimes virtually unsolvable, they asked, what would be the point?

“If you are compiling these numbers from phone calls, you should know they aren’t accurate,” said Chris Moutafov of crime statistics shared by DPD officials. “People aren’t making phone calls.”

“Stats would indicate one thing,” acknowledged DPD Northeast Division Commander Malik Aziz. “The second would be reality of the numbers and the perception of the neighborhood where you live, work and play. If your perception is that you are not safe, that trumps any numbers I have in my hand. The stats may say one thing, and a survey of people in the neighborhood may say something else.”

Crime stats say both sides are right.

Violent offenses are down 11% in the Royal-Abrams area when January through June of 2019 is compared to the same 7 months of 2018, but robbery of individuals, which includes force or threat of force, is up by two-thirds, and property crime has risen by 12%. Offenses include stolen cars, vehicles broken into, businesses burglarized and other thefts. The best news: rape fell by 83%.

“People get frustrated. They don’t think anything is going to happen, so they don’t call. We have got to get the calls,” said Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough, who formerly worked as a community prosecutor in Dallas. “We are constantly playing catch up.”

Citizens were urged to join their neighborhood crime watch, become a DPD VIP (volunteer in patrol) and call 911 when they see suspicious persons or vehicles. Gang activity or graffiti may be reported directly to the gang unit at 214-671-GANG, and narcotics and vice can be reported at 214-671-3120. Anonymous tips may be submitted to Crimestoppers online here.