Cornering crime

I was continually told there really wasn't much we could do.

I want to thank all of you for allowing me to represent you for the last three years, and now for the next two years, on the Dallas City Council. I love the Lake Highlands area and enjoy being able to serve it in this capacity.

I strongly believe that we as a Council need to focus on the basics the next two years. Yes, we will look at the Olympic bid later this fall, but streets, trash and other basic City services need the majority of our attention.

This past year, most of the City enjoyed a decrease in the crime rate, but not District 10. Each month, I receive a report on our district’s crime statistics. Upon review with police officials, the increases could be attributed primarily to the apartment communities.

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By plotting the crimes by police beat, it was easy to see our single family neighborhoods weren’t the subject of the increases. I was continually told there really wasn’t much we could do.

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After several months of this, I asked Chief Click to bring me a listing of all the apartment communities in District 10 and the crime statistics for each. As I expected, we have some apartment communities that have a much higher frequency of police calls and crime than others. Chief Click has now put together an Apartment Crime Initiative to address these bad players.

Over the next few months, the top 10 apartment complexes with the highest crime numbers will be encouraged by police and code enforcement officials to address this problem. This will include encouraging them to screen applicants for crime records, attending the crime watch for apartments out of the Northeast Police Substation, including security fencing to deter auto theft and, where they have fencing, to monitor the entry gates. In one of these units, for example, the complex has a controlled entry gate but management just leaves it open.

My concern here is on two fronts. First, apartment owners have a responsibility to their tenants to provide the safest housing possible. Second, although we haven’t had increases in crime rate in single family neighborhoods, if left unchecked the increasing crime rate in our apartment neighbors will begin to spill over.

If the initiative works, we plan to expand the program into other council districts. I will keep you informed as the results from this initiative become apparent.

Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate another class of graduating seniors. It doesn’t seem possible that another year has gone by, but it seems even more impossible that my son Robert and his class are going to be seniors.

Good luck to all of you.

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