Five stories that have North Texas talking: Police are dealing with a major crime surge in Dallas; a Dallas preacher tries to justify Donald Trump’s comments on abortion; a Frisco hospice was reportedly overdosing its patients; and more.
From Jan. 1 of this year until late March, the number of murders in Dallas has increased 85 percent over the same period last year. In Dallas, total violent crime is up 22 percent and aggravated assault is up 35 percent. March had 20 murders alone, compared to seven in March 2015, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which aptly called the period, “March madness: A month of murder and mayhem.” The Star-Telegram also explores other crime across North Texas.
The Texas Standard reported: “In Dallas, police associations are asking Chief David Brown to resign as reports point to a huge spike in violent crime in the Big D. It’s an issue that’s gained so much attention it’s forced the Dallas Police Department to overhaul how it responds to some incidents. Even Gov. Greg Abbott is offering state troopers to help with the crime surge. “
Here’s what WFAA reported about Brown’s changes to policing -- although the redeployment of officers could change in light of the state's offer for help:
600 officers will be moved into the field during the evening shift.
Chief Brown says a pool of 700 officers will be asked to rotate to foot patrol.
They'll expand beyond high-crime areas.
Special task forces are being set up to target the uptick in crimes like murders, assaults, and burglaries. For example, the Violent Crime Task Force started earlier this month.
While the city scrambles to find a solution, how can residents make sense of the surge? KERA’s Eric Aasen spoke with Texas Standard about three possible explanations:
Drug deals going awry — resulting in homicide.
Domestic violence becoming fatal.
Warmer weather that typically results in a spike of crime in the summertime has had the same effect during the mild winter and warm spring so far.
As for the Dallas police — rationale for resignation stems not only from fear but also low morale and under-staffing, Aasen said. Read more. [Texas Standard, WFAA, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, KERA News, The Associated Press]
- Temperatures have already crept into the 80s this spring — how will we survive the summer? Well, a 1,000-foot slip ‘n slide will be set up on Sylvan Avenue in Dallas starting June 25. GuideLive reported: “When the event came through North Texas last year, fun seekers in Fort Worth helped set a Guinness World Record for the "longest distance slide on slip and slide in one hour." In fact, they crushed it, going a total 2.5 million feet.” Tickets will go on sale April 6 and will cost $10-$20. Read more. [GuideLive]
- A Dallas evangelical preacher is one of the few people backing Donald Trump’s recent remarks on abortion. In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Wednesday, Trump said that women who have the procedure should undergo “some form of punishment.” The sound of crickets was deafening, when neither presidential competitor Ted Cruz nor John Kasich responded. On Thursday First Baptist’s Robert Jeffress virtually nodded his head in solidarity with Trump.
Conservatives' outrage over @realDonaldTrump abortion comments hypocritical. Maybe they don't really believe abortion is murder.
— Dr. Robert Jeffress (@robertjeffress) March 31, 2016
The Dallas Morning News spoke with Jeffress who said: “Look, I have counseled with many women who have had abortions, and they go through their own private hell,” he said. “I do think they are victims. But if you ever outlaw abortion — and I don’t think it will ever be outlawed — how do you have a law but there’s no punishment for breaking that law? The doctor ought to bear the majority of the punishment.” And the woman involved should, too, he said. Read more. [The Dallas Morning News]
- A hospice owner in Frisco reportedly directed nurses to overdose patients to expedite deaths and maximize profits. Executive Brad Harris, 34, founded Novus Health Care Services, Inc., located on Dallas Parkway, in July 2012, according to state records. KXAS (NBC 5) reported: “Harris, an accountant, instructed a nurse to administer overdoses to three patients and directed another employee to increase a patient's medication to four times the maximum allowed, the FBI said. He allegedly sent text messages like, ‘You need to make this patient go bye-bye.’” The investigation has been ongoing since October 2014. KXAS reports that no charges have been filed against Novus or Harris, who didn't return the station's messages..Read more. [KXAS]
- You can see work from the late architect Zaha Hadid in Dallas. Hadid, known for her bold designs and making strides for women in architecture, died of a heart attack in Miami on Thursday at 65. Her work can be seen all over the world — London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Galaxy SOHO in Beijing and several others featured on this list from Curbed. But you don’t have to travel far to see some of Hadid’s smaller works at the Dallas Museum of Art. Read more about Hadid’s life and achievements from PBS Newshour.
— Bradford Pearson (@BradfordPearson) March 31, 2016