DeSoto Police Chief Costa Says 2020 Overall Crime Rates Down By 12%

DeSoto citizen oversight board
DeSoto Police Chief Joseph Costa

DESOTO – Numbers don’t lie.

When DeSoto Police Chief Joe Costa outlined the numbers relating to the city’s police department statistics last week, it was easy to appreciate that Costa’s men and women stay pretty busy.

However, those numbers were also a reminder that the city – in relation to keeping the streets safe – are in a relatively good place as compared to years past.

Last year Desoto PD officers handled 65,365 calls for service. That number was down from 2019 when the department had 98,927 including 911 and non-emergency. In 2018 there were 107,848 and the numbers were over 100,000 for at least four years prior to 2018 as well.

So for the good news, calls are down.

In 2020 the DeSoto Regional Jail processed 3,195 arrestees. That too was down since in 2019, it was at 5,822; in 2018 it was 5,354 and 5,375 in 2017.

Also in 2020, DeSoto Police transported a total of 1,551 inmates to the Dallas County Jail.

The Duncanville Police Department also became a partner with the DeSoto Regional Jail in October, which increased staffing by three and decreased the costs of the jail for user cities; Cedar Hill, Lancaster, Glenn Heights and DeSoto.

Animal lovers will appreciate that the DeSoto Police Department handled 3,881 animal control calls in 2020.

“It’s always good to apprise our citizens of just how safe our city is,” Costa said regarding the Town Hall meeting. “It’s important that our community is aware of the types of crimes we respond to as well as the crime statistics from previous years. In 2020, our overall crime decreased by 12 percent and so far, the first quarter of 2021 it has decreased another 20 percent.”

Regarding safety in the city of DeSoto, Group A incidents included aggravated assault, homicide, robbery, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle thefts and drugs and narcotics. Of these crimes, aggravated assault, larceny from motor vehicle and motor vehicle theft were minimally up from the year before.

Highest Level of Incidents In DeSoto Involve Larceny From Motor Vehicles

The highest level of incidents in the city included Larceny from MV and destruction/damage/vandalism. These ran behind with 241 incidents in 2020.

In a five-year comparison, these numbers are still at a decrease of 12.2 percent. In the past five years, the highest rate was in 2016.

Burglary of a habitation was also at an all-time low last year – down 57.66 percent with 116 incidents in all. This compares to a high in 2016 of 402.

DeSoto incidents
Desoto Incidents from 2020 to 2019 comparison-slide shared by Desoto Police Department

Costa concluded “The community should know what types of new initiatives and programs that we are instituting as well as some important information concerning the Police Department.”

These initiatives include the C.A.R.E. Team, which was established this past October to handle Mental Health Calls, the Citizen Police Advisory Committee was formed with 11 members, the COVID-19 Response-Protective Gear-Response Shift, the partnership with Duncanville utilizing DeSoto’s regional jail, and the Ellis Davis Testing/Vaccine Site.

DeSoto Police Department has also worked to increase the diversity of its police force and Chief Costa shared a breakdown.

DeSoto PD Diversity
DeSoto PD Diversity slide created/shared by DeSoto Police Department

DeSoto Police Department Goals in 2021 include:

  • Reduce Overall Crime by 10%. (Down 20% now)
  • Increase Critical Incident Training- (MH Response)
  • Continue De-Escalation Training- All Officers
  • Enhance Social Media- Community Transparency
  • Increase Cultural Diversity/Sensitivity Training
  • Expand the Drone Program. ( 2017)
  • Digitalize Records
  • Increase Sworn Officer Positions (Currently 79)