Editorials

Too many homicides, not enough detectives

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Alex Sanchez is one of Arlington's homicide victims. He's buried at Oak Grove Memorial Gardens in Irving, on Tuesday, May 31, 2016.
Alex Sanchez is one of Arlington's homicide victims. He's buried at Oak Grove Memorial Gardens in Irving, on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. jlmarshall@star-telegram.com

The east Arlington neighborhoods along Texas 360 have long drawn concern for their timeworn apartments, aging or vacant retailers and the rapid turnover of residents who never get to know their neighbors.

Now, residents also must be concerned about a homicide rate that has doubled since last year. Nine of 2016’s 12 killings were in neighborhoods near Texas 360 in east or southeast Arlington.

All the victims knew the suspects in some way, police say. There is no predator afoot. The homicide rate in nearby Dallas is up 73 percent, perhaps indicating some spillover of drug-dealing violence after several years of a declining crime rate.

Other cities showing similar increases also rest on the edge of larger cities, including Long Beach, Calif., up 125 percent, and Mesa, Ariz., up 100 percent.

(Fort Worth had 26 homicides to through May. But that is not an increase in Fort Worth, where the violent crime rate overall is one of the lowest for a major city.)

The most telling number about Arlington is not the 12 killings. It’s the four homicide detectives for the 50th largest city in the country.

A city Arlington’s size probably needs more than four homicide detectives. We can hope the workload will dwindle, but that is not currently the case.

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