Dallas Police. Photo by Danny Fulgencio.

Headed to tonight’s listening session on public safety hosted by Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough? Here’s what you can expect.

The chief has come under fire in recent weeks after a particularly violent year. The DPD reported a total of 210 homicides in the city of Dallas during 2019, the highest number in over a decade. The Northeast division, including Lake Highlands and White Rock Lake, saw a 76% increase in homicides, up from 21 in 2018 to 37 in 2019. That was second only to the South Central division, which logged 51 murders, up from 48 in 2018. Homicides in LH included (1) Cedrick “CJ” Jackson, who was allegedly killed by his aunt’s boyfriend in October after making a mess with ketchup packets. The toddler suffocated after being tightly swaddled to restrict his nighttime movement and was dumped in a dumpster and found in a landfill, (2) Reginal Knox, 21, who allegedly shot Gerald Harris, 59, in October after an altercation at the Skillman/Audelia shopping center and drove away on the homeless man’s bicycle, and (3) Lake Highlands High graduate Christopher Rowe, 18, who allegedly shot Christopher Corder, 27, in the head during a midnight marijuana sale in May.

Hall will explain her 5-year strategic plan tonight and over many nights at listening sessions in every council district in the city. The six pillars of the plan and 2018-19 strategic priorities can be found here.

The strategic plan is broader than Hall’s recently released crime reduction plan, demanded by Mayor Eric Johnson, which sets 2020 crime reduction goals for the DPD and each division, including a 10% reduction in murders and aggravated assaults in the city’s most dangerous areas. She wants a 10% decrease in robberies in the Northeast and Southwest divisions and a 5% reduction in violent crime overall.

“Our goals need to be much more ambitious,” said McGough, chairman of the council’s public safety committee, “and there are areas where greater measures must be developed to define success of tactics being deployed.” Johnson said Hall’s plan was “a start” and expressed concern that “nobody had any idea what was driving our crime surge in Dallas.”

“We did have an answer at what’s driving crime,” responded Hall at a press conference. “We know that it’s narcotics, it’s guns, it’s gangs. Those are the three drivers of crime in the city of Dallas.”

Tonight’s event will be an interactive working session to gather feedback and input. Community members will have an opportunity to write their thoughts and ideas down on sticky notes and/or comment cards so the DPD team can study that feedback and fold it into strategic priorities. At the meeting’s close, suggested items will be discussed and questions will be answered.

The listening session begins at 6:30 p.m. at Scofield Memorial Church, 7730 Abrams Road.