Dallas uses ‘violence interrupters’ to reduce crime
A violence intervention team in Dallas has already met with hundreds of people as part of a nonpolicing approach to reducing violent crime.
Why it matters: The program, which began this summer, is a product of a series of recommendations from the Dallas mayor’s task force to find other tactics to reduce violent crime.
- The task force was created after a 15% increase in violent crime in Dallas in 2019 compared to 2018.
Flashback: Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson shared the task force’s report and recommendations in January 2020, which included the use of “violence interrupters” in high-crime areas.
- In May 2021, the Dallas City Council authorized a two-year $1.6 million contract with Youth Advocate Programs to operate the violence intervention program in four high-crime areas.
- The four geographic areas were identified by Dallas police as part of the police department’s violent crime reduction plan. Three are in the southern sector of the city, and the fourth is in northwest Dallas.
How it works: The team, known as Dallas Cred, meets with residents in the four high-crime areas to develop relationships that police officers wouldn’t be able to build.
- The group also offers weekly group sessions for those who have witnessed or experienced violence in their neighborhoods.
- Additionally, the program provides grief support, organizes neighborhood cleanups and is planning to host food drives.
What they’re saying: People in the community don’t always trust police and “from that disconnect, more people feel like it’s every man for himself,” program director Mar Butler told City Council members during a public safety committee meeting Monday.
The bottom line: The program is another way Dallas city leaders are trying to reduce violent crime without relying solely on uniformed police officers.
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