The Dallas (TX) Anti-Gang Initiative targeted five geographical areas that were home to seven of the city’s most violent gangs. Three main suppression strategies were employed:
Gang unit officers teamed with community-policing officers to carry out selected strategies in each of the five geographical areas. By examining weekly and monthly police reports that documented overtime-funded activities, evaluators determined which of the three suppression strategies various Dallas police teams mainly used. Patrol beats that had a similar number of gang-related violent offenses in a one-year period prior to the anti-gang initiative were selected for comparative evaluation purposes. Gang-related violent offenses reported to the police before and during the initiative were analyzed in both target and control areas. The analysis showed that gang-related violence decreased significantly during 1996–97 in both target and control areas; however, the decrease was more substantial in targeted areas (57 percent versus 37 percent). The larger decrease in gang-related violence in targeted areas was attributed to the use of two combined strategies: aggressive enforcement of curfew and truancy laws and regulations. Traditional (undirected) saturation patrol did not produce significant reductions when used as the main suppression strategy. The authors advise that these results must be interpreted with caution and replicated across and within several jurisdictions before broad and definitive conclusions can be drawn about the usefulness of a particular strategy. Although this program no longer exists, it is a relatively straightforward model that any community can implement.
National Gang Center: Promising program
Dallas Police Department
1400 South Lamar Street
Dallas, TX 72515
Phone: (214) 671-GANG
Fax: (214) 670-8250
Eric J. Fritsch, Ph.D.
Criminal Justice Department
University of North Texas
Denton, TX 76203-5017
Phone: (940) 565-4954
Fritsch, E. J.; Caeti, T. J.; and Taylor, R. W. (1999). “Gang Suppression Through Saturation Patrol, Aggressive Curfew, and Truancy Enforcement: A Quasi-Experimental Test of the Dallas Anti-Gang Initiative.” Crime and Delinquency, 45:122–139.
Fritsch, E. J.; Caeti, T. J.; and Taylor, R. W. (2003). “Gang Suppression Through Saturation Patrol and Aggressive Curfew and Truancy Enforcement: A Quasi-Experimental Test of the Dallas Anti-Gang Initiative.” In S. H. Decker (ed.), Policing Gangs and Youth Violence. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, pp. 267–284.