Dallas County DA Ends Theft Policy

“I will change when a change is needed, so to that end, I rescind the policy,” Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot told the WFAA over the weekend.

DALLAS — After pledging to reconsider its controversial theft policy, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot kept his promise and quietly rescinded it over the weekend.

“I want the people of Dallas County and our partner police departments to know that I have heard their concerns, and I will change when change is needed, so to that end, I am rescinding the policy. My aides and I will use our discretion to prosecute those who deserve it and will use our enhanced pretrial intervention programs and other community resources to get vulnerable populations the help they need. The policy change is effective immediately,” Creuzot said in a statement to the WFAA.

During his first term, Creuzot ordered assistant prosecutors not to prosecute people for stealing items such as food, diapers, or baby formula worth between $100 and $750, unless these people are not trying to resell them.

Critics immediately jumped in saying the district attorney let felons off the hook if they stole less than $750.

But last month, during his re-election campaign, Creuzot told the WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics that he would reconsider the policy.

“Like anything neutral but controversial, I think in the near future we’re going to have to ask ourselves if we’re going to keep it,” the Democrat said on the Sunday morning show, Oct. 9. “If we can’t show that it has an impact one way or the other, but people have a negative opinion about it, I think if I did it now, I would be accused of crude politicalism or whatever. But I’m definitely open to that.

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It wasn’t public pressure, Creuzot said, but data that drove his decision.

Prosecutors dismissed just 13 such cases out of more than 1,000 last year, he added.

“Through data analysis and conversations with community organizations, retailers and independent loss prevention specialists, I found that the policy had no effect on crime in the county – positive or negative. I understood that this policy is more ambitious than realistic and rather than helping those in need, I have seen this population, and primarily people of color, being blamed for an increase in crime,” said continued Creuzot this weekend in his statement to WFAA.

He was easily re-elected for a second term this month with almost 60% of the vote.

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