A special Mesquite City Council meeting was held Dec. 17 to discuss strategies for addressing crime in Mesquite as well as to receive citizen input.
Mayor Bruce Archer said the goal of the council is to turn Mesquite into the safest city in America, and that requires cooperation among the police department, businesses and residents.
“We must make it clear to every criminal, local or from other areas, that we are going to, more than ever before, make it very uncomfortable to commit crimes or cause problems in Mesquite,” Archer said. “In Mesquite, Texas, from here on out we are going to be resolute and firm, and we are going to take the fight to criminals.”
The goal is create a long-term plan so Mesquite can become the safest city.
“There is a spike in crime that is of concern considering our recent downturn in crime in most areas,” said City Manager Cliff Keheley. “This isn’t just a problem in Mesquite – if you look at other communities in Dallas County we are all experiencing similar trends, but in Mesquite we’re doing something unique. We’ve used the model set forth by the president’s task force on 21st century policing to develop a model where police departments engage and address the changing nature of society and expectations of how police departments should operate.”
Keheley noted that one of the pillars of this model is building trust and legitimacy among the members of the community.
Before opening the meeting up for public input, Police Chief Charles Cato provided a briefing on the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) crime through November.
He reported that 90 percent of all reported crime in the city is some sort of property crime.
Data shows a continued downward trend in burglary, a slight increase in theft from last year, and motor vehicle theft numbers remain the same.
According to the presentation, the five-year average for murder is 5.4, but this year (at the time of presentation) there have been six.
Cato reported that there have been 230 robberies, including criminal acts that have gone bad, which is 20 more than last year.
He added that nine of that 20 have had to do with internet sale/purchases where an individual shows up to pay for an item and gets robbed. He encouraged people to utilize the safe exchange zone in front of the police department for these types of exchanges because it’s monitored 24 hours.
Cato said the department will work on getting information out to the public quicker, but emphasized that it still will not be as fast as social media because their focus is on accuracy. He ensures that if there’s a public safety issue the department will notify the public.
Some issues raised by residents who spoke had to do with youth causing problems, getting into fights, shootings, road rage and lights.
The city manager and police chief will work on a crime fighting plan that will be brought back at another special City Council meeting this month for consideration.