This week, the city of Dallas announced it no longer has the highest crime rate among cities with more than 1 million residents.

The city recorded 10,000 fewer crimes in 2008, and Dallas’ rate of 68 crimes per 1,000 residents is less than the new No. 1 city, San Antonio, which has 79 crimes per 1,000 residents. Houston, the third place city, has 59 crimes per 1,000 residents.

But crime reporting techniques vary from city to city and statistics can be misleading. The real question remains – are Dallas residents safer?
— Kaky Wakefield lives in The Meadows, a neighborhood that employs a part-time extended neighborhood patrol. She, like many residents in the city’s northern regions, believes crime is reasonably low in her neighborhood.

“I think our neighborhood is relatively safe,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Yes, we do have small incidents of vandalism or burglary, but we keep an eye out for each other and follow the simple rules everyone should of keeping our garages closed, gates and doors locked.”

— Edwin Bright is the go-to guy for crime watch in the Northaven Park Neighborhood Association, a neighborhood that does not have an extended neighborhood patrol.

“I personally have never felt unsafe in this neighborhood, so I wouldn’t say I felt safer because I’ve never had any fears of not being safe,” Bright said. But, “there is no question that crime in our neighborhood is going down.”

“If crime happens to you, it’s a serious crime. But in our neighborhood, over the past year, there haven’t been a lot of serious crimes,” like assaults, murders and other violent crimes, he said.

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