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What You Need: Message from the Mayor

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia and Mayor Eric Johnson

Friend —

To build a safer city, you need everyone working toward the same goals.

You can have a top elected leader who understands the stakes and the communities that are most frequently victimized. But he or she can’t make a city safer without strong, quality law enforcement.

You can have the best police chief in the nation, but it won’t matter much if you don’t have community support and the backing of the folks at City Hall. And you can have community-based solutions, but you also need data-driven policing to weed out the criminal element from your streets and neighborhoods.

That was my message for police chiefs from across the United States and beyond who came to Dallas last week for the Major Cities Chiefs Association’s annual meeting and the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference.

Right now, Dallas is trying everything and has just about everyone in key positions working together — which is why you hear so much about the “kitchen-sink” approach to reducing violent crime.

It was great to share the Dallas story with the conference attendees and to talk about my partnership with Police Chief Eddie Garcia, who was recently named the President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

Thanks to the work of the men and women of the Dallas Police Department —combined with community-based solutions from my Task Force on Safe Communities and efforts such as the Summer of Safety campaign — Dallas is moving in the right direction.

Last year, Dallas bucked the national trends and saw violent crime fall. And even with a lower baseline in 2022, crime is down again so far this year.

Aggravated assaults are down about 4 percent from 2021. Sexual assaults are down significantly. Robberies are at about the same level as they were last year, when they fell 29% from 2020. The city remains slightly up in murders, but the trend in recent months has been positive. Hopefully, that trend will continue.

But this is not the time to rest on laurels or declare victory. It’s vital to continue to look for solutions. Nobody has all the right answers — but it’s critical to relentlessly continue looking for them. That means bringing everyone to the table. And that means always putting public safety first in everything you do.

That will continue to be the philosophy moving forward. And Dallas will be even better for it.

Working to address homelessness

It was a true honor to accept the inaugural Public Service Award from Austin Street Center last week.

The award was in part a recognition for the work done to help address homelessness in Dallas through the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund and the Real-Time Rapid Rehousing Strategy, a major partnership that has helped take more than 1,100 people off the streets in the last year.

Homelessness is an extraordinarily challenging issue, and other cities across the nation have struggled mightily with it.

What is clear is that the City of Dallas cannot solve this regional problem alone. It will take a more comprehensive approach moving forward.

City staff have been clearing hundreds of encampments and working to get people into shelters. A new partnership at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport will provide a new funding stream to help The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center. And long-time community service providers and advocates such as Austin Street Center are working hard to help get people back on their feet. Still, it’s clear there is far more work to be done. And that work will require more coordination and other governmental entities in this region to step up and help out.

Stay tuned for more updates on this important issue.

In memoriam

Finally, as you know, Dallas is in mourning after losing Officer Jacob Arellano last week in a terrible car wreck.

Officer Arellano — who grew up in El Paso and came here to serve the people of Dallas — was on his way to work a shift in the city’s Northwest Patrol Division when he was hit by a wrong-way driver on Spur 408. He died later at the hospital. A woman is facing intoxication manslaughter charges in connection with his death.

He leaves behind a beautiful family, including a young son. His brother is also a Dallas police officer. Keep them and the Dallas Police Department family in your thoughts and prayers.

The officer’s funeral is this week.

Life is precious and unpredictable. Cherish it always. That’s all for today. Remember to take care of yourselves and each other.

Until next time,

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