Mesquite announced an 11% drop in overall crime and significant reductions in certain types of crimes, highlighted by a 54% reduction in robbery, and nearly 300 less crimes committed during July to September as compared to the same time period in 2019.
This was announced during the Mesquite Police Department’s (MPD) Nov. 2 quarterly report to the City Council.
“While the City Council and I are pleased about the overall reduction in crime and the wonderful work our officers are doing, we also know there are still too many crimes taking place in our city and we are not going to be comfortable or satisfied,” Mayor Bruce Archer said. “We are going to indeed redouble our efforts to do even more going forward. Those efforts include doing more to increase our number of police officers and getting more of them out on the streets and in neighborhoods. We will be aggressively funding, recruiting, testing, hiring and training the best and the brightest officers. Whatever it takes.”
Archer reminded the public to say something when they see unusual activity by calling the MPD’s non-emergency phone number at 972-285-6336 or 911.
“The reduction in crime is the result of hard work by our police officers, community partners and volunteers such as our Mesquite Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association,” Police Chief Charles Cato said. “These are substantial decreases in crime, but we are just getting started and are hopeful to be able to report more decreases as we move forward.”
He explained the recent crime statistics were from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS). He said the NIBRS has allowed for greater specificity in reporting offenses, collection of more detailed information and has allowed for better analysis of crimes.
In addition to the drop in robbery, the NIBRS data also reported a 9% drop in theft. The data also revealed MPD had a 6% decrease in motor vehicle accidents and a 10% increase in answering 911 calls within 10 seconds, compared to the same period in 2019.
Cato shared that a variety of internal crime prevention programs have contributed to the reductions in crime. These include the Convenience Store Ordinance designed to deter robberies at late night businesses with a variety of improved security operations by property management, an apartment safety program called S.A.F.E. (Secure Apartments For Everyone), which has 14 apartment complexes registered and the 13M Patrol initiative that increases the visibility of police officers in problem areas of the city.
In addition to internal programs, MPD has launched numerous new public education efforts to get citizens involved in maintaining a safer community. These include the “Project Porchlight” program that encourages homeowners to use exterior lighting, to help discourage criminal activity, and to ask neighbors to engage each other in conversation to build connections. MPD uses their “20/4/7” program to ask residents to spend 20 minutes out in their neighborhood at least four days a week to be more active in spotting unusual activity.
This year, MPD started the “9 P.M. Routine” campaign to suggest to residents using 9 p.m. as the time to remind themselves to secure their vehicles by removing valuables and locking the doors as well as securing their homes by turning on exterior lights, locking the doors and fastening the windows of their home.
These new public education programs supplement MPD’s continuing “Take. Lock. Hide.” program that encourages owners of vehicles to take or hide valuables and to lock the vehicle. These small steps can help eliminate crimes of opportunities. So far in 2020, approximately 58% of burglary of motor vehicles have been from unlocked vehicles.