Jan 11, 2022 - News

Dallas reviewing city ordinance regulating massage businesses

Dallas police patrol car
Photo: HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Dallas city attorney is reviewing the local code on regulating massage businesses.

Why it matters: Police officials say that some massage businesses are fronts for criminal enterprises, including money laundering and sex trafficking.

Details: The Dallas Police Department has made 38 arrests in the past two years during 22 investigations into massage businesses, according to a presentation at the Public Safety Committee meeting yesterday.

  • 50 employees at massage businesses were offered social services, according to police.

Yes, but: These businesses are typically investigated as a result of complaints, not a "consistent regulatory process," city officials say.

  • Massage businesses are licensed by the state and city code cannot supersede those regulations.

The big picture: Like most U.S. cities, Dallas saw a sharp increase in violent crime in 2020, but crime has dropped since Chief Eddie Garcia was hired and implemented his crime reduction plan last year.

  • The violent crime reduction plan has so far focused on hot spot policing, which means officers target geographic areas with historically high crime rates.

By the numbers: Violent crime dropped more than 3% in 2021 compared to 2020.

  • In 2020, there were 254 murders. In 2021, there were 220, according to police data.
  • Property crimes dropped 3.5% in 2021 compared to 2020.

What’s next: Council members have also expressed concern about crime at sexually oriented businesses and will consider changing the city ordinance on Jan. 26 to require the businesses to close at 2am.

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