Since DPD implemented a crime reduction plan in May of last year, aggravated assaults have decreased by 6.5 percent, murders have dropped by 27 percent, and robberies have decreased by 28 percent, making an overall reduction in crime by 13 percent, according to Garcia.
Though Garcia touted strong law enforcement, he also remarked that he does not expect to “arrest our way” out of crime, preferring a balanced approach that includes consultation with criminologists.
During a time when the role of police is often the subject of debate, Garcia has spoken out against the reasoning behind gun control and criticized the movement to “defund the police.”
When asked about the “honeymoon” phase after the crime plan and how DPD will continue to produce results, Garcia pointed to the department’s intentions to increase manpower in places such as apartment complexes, where a great portion of crime is committed.
“I think all of us are ducks on water, where you may see a duck on top of the water, but the feet are paddling extremely quick. So, I certainly wouldn’t call what we’ve been going through a honeymoon phase,” Garcia said.
The police chief also mentioned the city’s hopes to restrict the operating hours of sexually-oriented businesses.
To free up police resources, Mayor Eric Johnson is seeking to require sexually-oriented businesses to close from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. and prohibit anyone under 21 from working at such businesses. The mayor has placed the item on the agenda for a city council meeting on Wednesday, January 26.
“Chief Garcia has made clear that this proposed ordinance change is an important part of his violent crime reduction plan, the implementation of which is critical to improving public safety — our top priority — in our city,” Johnson told council members in a memorandum.
Garcia’s predecessor, Chief Renee Hall, took a zero-tolerance approach to crime during the race demonstrations during the summer of 2020. She warned against criminal activity in downtown Dallas, promising that offenders would be arrested.
However, she also sparred publicly with Mayor Eric Johnson over his suggestion that she was not delivering on her commitment to reduce crime. Some had also questioned DPD’s response to a group of protesters who marched onto a highway, creating additional problems for Hall.
After the Dallas City Council voted to strip the police department of $7 million in overtime pay funding, she was out. Hall announced her resignation, clearing the way for a successor and giving the city a chance to hire a new chief following the protests against police.
In November 2020, crime in Dallas had worsened to the point that Governor Greg Abbott ordered state troopers and other backup to bolster public safety. By Christmas, the city hired Garcia and he stated unequivocally that his priority was reducing the crime rate.
Though the crime numbers bode well for Garicia and he seems to have a good working relationship with Johnson, the police chief has also had to contend with the fallout from a high-profile arrest.
Last year, there was a kerfuffle between Garcia and Republican gubernatorial contender Allen West after the candidate’s wife, Angela West, was arrested in Dallas on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. After Angela West was fully exonerated by toxicology test results, Allen West demanded an apology from Garcia, Johnson, and District Attorney John Creuzot.
Garcia stood by his officer’s actions and told the public that there was probable cause for the arrest even though Creuzot ultimately filed no criminal charges against her.
A copy of Johnson’s memorandum to the city council can be found below.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."