Crime stats show drop at Star in Frisco, police focus on keeping entertainment areas safe | Frisco Company

The Frisco Police Department is looking to the future when it comes to entertainment district safety, especially as Frisco continues to grow.

At the city’s annual winter work session meeting, Frisco Police Chief David Shilson told city officials that crime rates for offenses such as assault, assault sexual and intoxication offenses had recently seen significant reductions in The Star district. The announcement came after the ministry had already seen some challenges in the region.

“What we were seeing really started in 2019 and peaked in early to mid-2020,” Shilson said, “and we saw an increase in some assaults, sexual assaults, intoxication offenses, and we really took an aggressive response to that, providing a lot of resources to that area, in response to those, and really the common denominator was alcohol, and that was a big concern.

In response, the department worked with The Star’s property managers and businesses who agreed to hire six off-duty agents for Friday and Saturday nights, Shilson said. In addition, the ministry has committed service resources, including increased attention from the ministry’s deployment team, police dog officers and patrol resources.

The department has also partnered with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which has worked on some cases related to overserving in the area, Shilson said.

“What we’ve seen is a significant drop in the serious offenses that I’ve identified,” he said.

In 2020, the department responded to 185 calls for service in the region, and it responded to 186 in 2021. Despite increasing one call, Shilson reported a 75% reduction in aggravated assaults, a reduction 50% reduction in intoxication offenses and a 50% reduction in sexual assaults in The Star area specifically between 2020 and 2021.

Shilson pointed to the department’s deployment team as a tool to address these areas. The four-person team, all of whom are members of the department’s SWAT team and are bike-certified, primarily focus on retail and entertainment districts, including The Star and Stonebriar Mall, Shilson said.

As Frisco grows, its future includes more entertainment venues like the home of the PGA of America and new developments downtown. That means more areas to focus on for the Frisco Police Department, Shilson said in an interview with The Frisco Enterprise. The departments’ fiscal year 2022 budget includes funds for a second deployment team, and with officers and recruits being trained, it is hoped the new team will be online by the end of the year.

The department has other tools to address public safety in entertainment districts. This includes departmental redistricting as Frisco’s development changes so that staff assignments are balanced: smaller, densely populated areas with high call volumes could become a district while an undeveloped portion and a wider city with fewer calls would constitute a larger district.

When the department went through a realignment process a few years ago, the change helped improve response times, which Shilson says is an ongoing goal. Now, as the ministry plans to update these neighborhoods once again, factors such as geography, road infrastructure and the influx of new businesses and residential developments are all considered.

“We have to deploy our resources accordingly and make sure we match the development of the city,” Shilson said.

Additionally, Shilson said business relationships are proving “extremely critical” as the department seeks to make entertainment areas safer.

“That’s very important because often times they can draw our attention to specific issues that they see and then we can direct their attention to specific issues that we see,” he said, “and work with leading specific companies, working with, for example, mall security to find out where they’re having trouble, helps us focus our attention where we need to make sure it’s focused.