Understanding Violent Crime in Dallas

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The Dallas Morning News reported on February 13, 2022, that violent crime was finally decreasing in the city. Dallas was bucking state and national trends. 

While homicides went down by 13 percent in Dallas in 2021 compared with 2020, they rose in Austin by 86 percent, in San Antonio by 23 percent, and in Houston by 17 percent. That data is based on Preliminary Uniform Crime Reports compiled by each city police department for 2021, compared with final and published FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2020.

The News said it was also important to highlight and champion violence-reduction strategies in Dallas that go beyond traditional law enforcement. Dallas took a layered, multifaceted approach to public safety that also emphasizes and invests in community-based solutions. 

Two pilot areas, where multiple task force recommendations were implemented in the same neighborhood, demonstrate the success and potential of the approach. In the Malcolm X and Marburg area of South Dallas, the city installed the first set of lights meant to enhance public safety, stepped up code enforcement work, engaged multifamily properties, cleaned up abandoned lots, and supported mutual aid efforts of community residents. In 2021, violent crime in that area fell 23 percent, outpacing the 18 percent reduction across the entire southeast patrol division and also outperforming the 9 percent citywide violent crime decrease.

In the Bonnie View, Overton, and Illinois focus areas in Oak Cliff, the city has employed those same strategies. But we have also gone further, hiring violence interrupters and deploying police officers using the strategies described in the police department’s violent crime reduction plan. This area experienced a 51 percent reduction in violent crime in 2021.

In 2019, police made 170 arrests in the Malcolm X and Marburg focus area. In 2021, police made only 69 arrests in that area. The Bonnie View, Overton, and Illinois area saw 259 arrests in 2019. In 2021, that fell to 242.

Bloomberg reported that in the period preceding Eddie Garcia’s arrival, between 2018 and the end of 2020, violent incidents had risen almost 22 percent citywide in Dallas, which anchors the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. Other U.S. cities were reporting shocking homicide figures, a confounding aberration after three decades of a nationwide crime decline. 

Working with criminologists and crime data, the department crafted a plan to tackle violent crime that deploys resources far beyond the police department. The strategy sends officers to tiny targeted areas that are hot spots for violent crime with a focus on pursuing the most serious offenses. But that’s the “only part of the plan that is police-centric,” according to Garcia. 

The goal is to implement a wide-ranging collaboration between city agencies to address apartment complex-specific issues like blight, lighting, park access and homelessness, and a concerted push to engage individuals who are at a high risk of being a victim of a crime or perpetuating one themselves, through initiatives like violence interrupter programs.

On February 14, 2022, NBCDFW reported that the Dallas Police Department was preparing a new strategy to further tackle violent crime by targeting problem apartment properties across the city, in communities where crime and code violations are rampant. This is part of an ongoing partnership between the city and police to cut down on crime that had been increasing in recent years.

Although overall crime is down, the city registered an increase in murders in January compared to the same month last year. As of February 14, 2022, Dallas has registered 30 murders for the year.

Dallas police addressed the issue of apartments and violent crime Monday afternoon before the city’s public safety committee meeting. DPD Major Paul Junger updated council members on January’s crime statistics as well as the department’s crime reduction plan that has been targeting hot spots for crime across the city.

Aggravated assaults still lead to violent crime in the city but were down for the sixth month since DPD’s crime plan began. The number of illegal guns and drugs seized also increased in January.

On February 21, 2022, WFAA-TV reported that violent crime was on the rise among teenagers.The Dallas Police Department was searching for leads and a suspect after a Black male teenager was found shot and left for dead in southwest Dallas, the fifth teenager to die of gun violence in as many weeks in Dallas-Fort Worth and at least Dallas’ 32nd homicide for the year.

During the prior week, WFAA reported that four teens had been killed in a four-week span in Fort Worth.

 

 

Violent Crime Defense in Dallas County

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy defends clients against all kinds of violent crimes in Texas. We have experience handling a number of different kinds of cases.

A simple assault could be a Class C misdemeanor if the alleged offender intentionally and knowingly threatened another person with imminent bodily injury, or the alleged offender intentionally or knowingly physically contacted another person they knew the person would perceive as offensive. The crime becomes a Class B misdemeanor if the alleged offender intentionally threatened another person with bodily injury and/or intentionally or knowingly caused physical contact the alleged offender knew would be perceived as offensive to a sports official performing their professional duty, or in retaliation to a sports official performing their professional duties.

Assault can also be a Class A misdemeanor if the alleged offender knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly caused bodily injury to another person, and/or intentionally or knowingly contacting an elderly or disabled individual the alleged offender knew would be perceived as offensive. Finally, this crime can also be a third-degree felony if the alleged offender knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person.3

Aggravated assault, meanwhile, can be a second-degree or first-degree felony. And assault with a deadly weapon is another major crime that can also be a second-degree or first-degree felony. 

Other violent crimes may include deadly conduct or disorderly conduct. The four types of deadly conduct are:

  • Engaging in any activity that places another person in imminent danger of serious bodily injury with reckless disregard for their safety
  • Discharging a firearm at or in the direction of a building or car with reckless disregard for whether or not it is occupied
  • Pointing a gun at another individual whether or not it is loaded and with or without intent to fire
  • Firing a firearm at or in the direction of another person with reckless disregard for their safety

There are a number of actions that can prompt a disorderly conduct charge. Similarly charged offenses could also include riots, harassment, or disruption of meetings.

An accident that results in the unintentional death of another person could lead to a manslaughter charge. This crime is a second-degree felony.

Robbery is another common violent crime. Under Texas Penal Code § 29.02, a person commits a robbery if, in the course of committing a theft as defined in Chapter 31 and with intent to obtain or maintain control of the property, they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another; or intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.

A person who intentionally or knowingly abducts another person in Texas commits the offense of kidnapping, another violent crime. A person can be charged with aggravated kidnapping if they intentionally or knowingly abduct another person with the intent to hold them for ransom or reward; use them as a shield or hostage; facilitate the commission of a felony or the flight after the attempt or commission of a felony; inflict bodily injury on them or violate or abuse them sexually; terrorize them or a third person, or interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.

There is also the crime of injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled person. There may be a number of affirmative defenses against these charges.

Finally, terroristic threats also constitute a violent crime in some scenarios. This crime is a Class B misdemeanor if an alleged offender threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to cause a reaction of any type to his threat by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies or place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; a Class A misdemeanor if an alleged offender threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to place a public servant or a member of the alleged offender’s family or household (or any other person constituting family violence) in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, place of employment or occupation, aircraft, automobile, or other forms of conveyance, or other public places; a state jail felony if an alleged offender threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, place of employment or occupation, aircraft, automobile, or other forms of conveyance, or other public place causing pecuniary loss of $1,500 or more to the owner of the building, room, place, or conveyance; or a third-degree felony if an alleged offender threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to cause impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public services; place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury; or influence the conduct or activities of a branch or agency of the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state.

Find a Dallas Violent Crime Defense Attorney | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

If you were arrested in Dallas, Garland, Irving, or another community in Dallas County for an alleged violent crime, you are going to want to get yourself, legal counsel, right away. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or completely dismissed. 

Our firm has been handling all kinds of violent crime cases in North Texas for more than two decades. We will be able to discuss all of the options available to you when you call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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