As you tune in to day one of Amber Guyger’s trial in the shooting of Botham Shem Jean, there’s another bit of Dallas criminal justice news worth noting. And it comes, strangely, from the Houston Chronicle.
The state troopers who swarmed the city—particularly, South Dallas—to help with the spike here in violent crime have officially departed. Troopers made more than 1,000 arrests, about half of them for felonies, Regional Director Jeoffry Williams told the Public Safety Commission last week, as reported by the Chron. Their 12 weeks in town, concluding September 1, was apparently termed “Operation D-town.”
On August 1, South Dallas Councilman Adam Bazaldua called a press conference to denounce the approach. He was joined by a handful of other council members, County Commissioner John Wiley Price, and District Attorney John Creuzot. Dallas PD had identified eight zones of highly concentrated violent crime, but Bazaldua said the Texas Department of Public Safety had predominately targeted the Central Scyene zone, within South Dallas and surrounding communities.
At that point, after seven weeks, troopers had pulled over 12,500 people, equal to 255 a day. (This video helps illustrate how that’s possible.) DPD said later that day that troopers had made 400 arrests and that violent crime in the area was down 29 percent since the effort began. I have a note out to DPS and DPD asking, among other things, how many cars overall were pulled over during the effort.
Rumors later swirled that troopers had moved on to help in Deep Ellum, where there have been swelling crowds and reports of gunshots nearly every weekend. But Deputy Police Chief Thomas Castro denied that troopers were helping there.
Bazaldua said at his presser that he’d been told troopers were in half of the eight zones. Three of them touched his district.
DPS Director Steve McCraw summarized the operation:
“It’s amazing how thankful the public is and the overwhelming majority of the public appreciated us being there,” he said Thursday after a meeting of the Public Safety Commission. “Certainly there’s been some that don’t appreciate it, usually the ones that are arrested or have relatives arrested, and we understand that. But the whole point of being there was crime prevention, and not enforcement, and that was the objective and I think we have achieved it very well.”