Recap: DPD meeting on Lake Highlands rapes

safety demonsChief Andy Acord began his remarks with an apology for the short notice.

“After the meeting last night, we heard your concerns and wanted to respond as quickly as we could.”

The large gym at Lake Highlands High School was about half full with residents interested in hearing from Dallas Police about three sexual assaults of women aged 23-33 in their homes over the last month.

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“It was important to us to meet with you face-to-face.”

“Every one of these officers wants to be the very first to get this guy,” said Jerry Allen, City Councilman from LH. “They’re going to get this ‘individual’”, added Jerry. “He’s a punk.”

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Acord repeated his urging from last night’s meeting: If you see something, say something. He said the DPD has established a tip line to deal with the LH rapes: 214-670-4415. Homeowners can also receive a free home security assessment by trained officers by calling 214-671-0160 or 214-671-0155.

“Officers have reported to us that LH neighborhoods are lacking in night light,” he added, “so I encourage you to verify that the lighting around your home is working.” We can dial 3-1-1 to report street lights out, he said, and DPD will also do an assessment to have street lights fixed.

To assist in the search, DPD will add SOAP – the Sex Offender Apprehension Program – to find violators of reporting requirements and see if they fit the rapist’s description. Today, SWAT teams were added to the search and tomorrow, Volunteers In Patrol (VIP) will join the fight.

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“We have thrown the whole kitchen sink into this area,” said Acord.

Major Jeffrey Cotner, who said he got an additional tip even while Acord was speaking, believes “somebody out there has seen something suspicious. “

“Every piece of information is extremely valuable.”

Stressing the importance he and his team place on find the perp, he said “Last night I went to bed thinking about this, and this morning I woke up thinking about this.”

Former Councilman Bill Blaydes asked, “Did you interview Hispanics in yard crews and construction crews?”

When Cotner responded that “we’re going to follow the rules of investigation,” Blaydes protested that that sounded like political correctness. Many in the audience seemed to agree.

One woman asked if the additional police presence, while appreciated, wasn’t just scaring the guy off into another neighborhood and whether unmarked cars might be wiser.

Chief Accord stepped in to say, “there are various activities you will not see, let’s leave it at that.”

A self-defense presentation followed by Dr. Nick Chamberlain (shown in the photo), who stressed that your first choice is always to run away and get out of danger.

“If you have no other choice, go at him hard.”

He demonstrated techniques such as loudly shouting “no!,” pushing away to create space, and clawing with your fingers. Chamberlain will also attend an April 22 “Chief on the Beat” Safety Fair at LHHS from 10-2.

“People walked out of there feeling better about what to do in a rape situation,” said Jeannine Hazen, who attended with a friend.

“I thought it was excellent,” agreed Jennifer Cutrer, “a good overview. They shared as much as they could share.”

“It was reassuring to see such a police mobilization,” added Cutrer. “I’ve never been in a neighborhood with rapes before. The police really mobilized the citizens. They need us to be their eyes and ears. “

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  • This is where I say: I will not respond to ignorant, patronizing and antagonistic remarks sent from anonymous people. Not worth my effort in debating…whilst, the goal should be at catching the rapist and hopefully learning to effectively defend oneself, man or woman.

    My advice….get a CHL permit, to equal the odds, train daily in effective, proven martial arts (MMA,Boxing ,Muay Thai Kickboxing, BJJ), one day self defense courses are worthless by lulling people into a false sense of security, get a big dog, a storm door to answer the front door and motion lights.

  • neighbor

    Felipe- until you have been a female in this scenario, I do not believe that you can give much of an opinion. Nothing could make you understand the fear or sense of helplessness in women that is caused by attacks like these. So I apologize if you get hurt feelings in regards to a victim’s description of her attacker, but get over it. It has nothing to do with racism, so stop trying to make this a racism issue. It is simply a matter of finding the sick a**hole responsible. And since the weather will be warming up, maybe just lay off the hoodies for a while…

  • neighbor

    Felipe- until you have been a female in this scenario, I do not believe that you can give much of an opinion. Nothing could make you understand the fear or sense of helplessness in women that is caused by attacks like these. So I apologize if you get hurt feelings in regards to a victim’s description of her attacker, but get over it. It has nothing to do with racism, so stop trying to make this a racism issue. It is simply a matter of finding the sick a**hole responsible. And since the weather will be warming up, maybe just lay off the hoodies for a while…

  • “self defense is useless” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PS18J6y_qmI

    I know the Self Defense class is well meaning but it is a good intention gone bad. It puts a bandaid on a problem by soothing people unto a false sense of security. That’s where the traditional martial arts band aid approach like Chamberlains comes into place in my opinion. Their techniques are worthless, in my opinion, as he or they(if ever) compete in an arena to see if their techniques are effective like a ring or a cage.

    As for myself, I have trained and competed for years and have trained Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA and Wrestling/Grappling Champions over the years. I have also cornered fighters in the ring and the cage to see what is effective against an “opposing combatant”. I have also recenly worked as a bouncer in local Dallas clubs alongside being a paramedic. In the club scene experience you tend to see what is and what is not effective. Karate & traditional Martial Arts was useless in that situation.

    I believe as an Instructor that there needs to be a shift away from the traditional martial arts(karate, TKD, Kung Fu) unto more combat and reality based training (MMA, Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Muay Thai Kickboxing) to be able to defend yourself EFFECTIVELY.

  • Good to see some enlightened responses…not one based on fears.

  • Good to see some enlightened responses…not one based on fears.

  • Rick Wamre

    chughesbabb, as far as getting DNA from every male worker, homeowner and apartment renter, that is definitely illegal. And it needs to stay illegal, too. What’s happening with this stalker is bad news, but running a dragnet that wide and requiring DNA testing of anyone in the area isn’t going to do anything positive for our civil liberties.

  • Felipe – I was thinking about that case too. But more along the lines of, I didn’t hear anyone calling for the questioning or investigation of every 20-something 250 pound white guy in the neighborhood. I mean-all of these descriptions are very vague and fit a ton of people. Now, if we could go around and get DNA from every male worker, homeowner and apartment renter within a 2-mile radius, that might work, but I doubt that is legal. BTW – the description we got from police re the murder suspects was as follows:

    “Two people of interest are seen at various stores using the victim’s credit cards on March 8. The first person is a white male 6-foot tall or more, weighing about 250 pounds. He changes his appearance from one store to another and tries to avoid store security cameras. He is seen wearing a grey windbreaker, blue baseball cap with a B on the front, blue jeans and white shoes. The same person is seen at a second store wearing a brown hoody work jacket, black/ red baseball cap with a letter B on the front, blue jeans and white shoes.

    The second person is a white male, about 5’8” tall, weighing about 160 pounds, wearing red, yellow, black multi-color horizontal striped shirt.

  • Dormand Long

    One root cause of the excessive amount of crime in Lake Highlands is the tolerance that the City of Dallas shows for the aging multifamily units that are simply not maintained.

    A run down apartment house becomes a Mecca for those who are predisposed to commit crime.

    If the apartment owners are not willing to bring these over-the-hill and run down apartments up to code and to have decent living conditions, they should be demolished,

    It is better to have park space than slum lord tenements that are petri dishes for crime,

    The President of the Dallas Housing Authority ( DHA ), Mary Anne Russ, advised a meeting of LH homeowners that there are a large number of apartment houses in the LH area that have failed inspections essential for an apartment house to receive subsidy vouchers from the DHA.

    The problem is that there are seven other housing authorities in the Region that issue rental subsidy vouchers, many of which fail to meet DHA’s rigorous quality control standards for apartment maintenance and upkeep.

    Well managed apartments repel criminals.

    We have far too many apartment houses owned by out-of-town investors who care more about the tax breaks than being good corporate citizens, thus creating slums.

    These need touching up by Caterpillar.

  • http://dfw.cbslocal.com/tag/avanell-cowgill/

    “Two Men Arrested For The Murder Of 79-Year-Old Woman”

    There is a difference between “RACIALLY PROFILING” suspects and a legitimate “DESCRIPTION” of a suspect. To me, racial profiling is illustrated in the Advocate Article by the ex councilman’s remarks, the audience response to his remarks and anonymous responses to my original statement. Case in point above & below are news reports of 2 suspects that recently brutally MURDERED a 79 year old widowed grandmother just 2 miles from the Lake Highlands rape.
    In that murder case there is no definition as to the suspects race, skin color,or speech/accent, etc. Even as video was available and direct contact was made by Wal Mart employees and others. I too was worried about killers at large in that case.
    Racially profiling hard working,law abiding citizens can only fan the flames of racial hatred, racial distrust and possibly misdirect the attention of an investigation. I will explain later…in my opinion. Why.

    “One of the men is described as taller that 6-feet, weighing about 250 lbs. In one of the security videos he’s seen wearing a grey windbreaker, blue baseball cap with a “B” to the front, blue jeans and white shoes. In another video he’s changed into a brown work jacket, black/ red baseball cap with a letter “B” to the front, blue jeans and white shoes.”

    “The second person police are looking for is described at 5’8” tall, weighing about 150 lbs., wearing a red, yellow, black multi-color horizontal striped shirt.”

  • http://dfw.cbslocal.com/tag/avanell-cowgill/

    “Two Men Arrested For The Murder Of 79-Year-Old Woman”

    There is a difference between “RACIALLY PROFILING” suspects and a legitimate “DESCRIPTION” of a suspect. To me, racial profiling is illustrated in the Advocate Article by the ex councilman’s remarks, the audience response to his remarks and anonymous responses to my original statement. Case in point above & below are news reports of 2 suspects that recently brutally MURDERED a 79 year old widowed grandmother just 2 miles from the Lake Highlands rape.
    In that murder case there is no definition as to the suspects race, skin color,or speech/accent, etc. Even as video was available and direct contact was made by Wal Mart employees and others. I too was worried about killers at large in that case.
    Racially profiling hard working,law abiding citizens can only fan the flames of racial hatred, racial distrust and possibly misdirect the attention of an investigation. I will explain later…in my opinion. Why.

    “One of the men is described as taller that 6-feet, weighing about 250 lbs. In one of the security videos he’s seen wearing a grey windbreaker, blue baseball cap with a “B” to the front, blue jeans and white shoes. In another video he’s changed into a brown work jacket, black/ red baseball cap with a letter “B” to the front, blue jeans and white shoes.”

    “The second person police are looking for is described at 5’8” tall, weighing about 150 lbs., wearing a red, yellow, black multi-color horizontal striped shirt.”

  • guest

    Oh good grief – the descriptions are of a hispanic or black man. A profile is to tell people who we are looking for so yeah, you are darn right – if you look like the descriptions — you might be looked at and maybe questioned. It would not offend me one bit if I was in a similar situation. I could care less if you are offended, the important thing is the safety of our community and ridding it of this criminal.

  • LHRez

    The descriptions aren’t exactly wildly different, in the 2nd and 3rd attacks in particular, especially when you consider what the victims were going through at the time.

  • LHRez

    The descriptions aren’t exactly wildly different, in the 2nd and 3rd attacks in particular, especially when you consider what the victims were going through at the time.

  • TXGSH

    Isn’t that what descriptions are for, to narrow down who the police are looking for? These descriptions absolutely eliminate everybody in my sub-division. So yes, if you come walking down my street, you will have extra sets of eyes on you. I don’t think anybody will call the police and you won’t be DNA tested. But you will be watched. It is what it is, and I hope you understand……..My profile is protective of my family and home first, your feelings second. And I am truly sorry we both have to live this way in this great neighborhood we call LH.

  • I am all for catching the rapist but I see this ending in a slippery slope of racial profiling. I live in Lake Highlands, wear hoodies and walk my dogs in my neighborhood. I happen to be Hispanic with a shaven head. Am I going to have to wear a T-Shirt, ” Not a RAPIST! Is every Hispanic or Black male, or male with an accent NOW being racially profiled?
    each victim has described their attacker differently:
    (1st) 35-year-old black man,180 pounds, bald/short hair, African accent.
    (2nd) Latin male in 20s,5’8’’, round, chubby, clean-shaven face, spoke English with a Spanish accent.
    (3rd) Latin man, 20s, light skin, a thin build, pencil mustache, English/Spanish accent.

  • TXGSH

    Turn on more lights if it makes you feel better. We have a crime problem in LH because we have a high density of criminals living amongst us and I don’t think lights on or off slow ’em down. I am sick to my stomach over what has happened to these ladies and my prayers are with them. And I am really sad that it takes the worst of the worst to get the community to notice. Besides calling him a punk, what are you going to do Mr. Allen? What are you going to do to clean up the crime dens that surround us? What can we all do? Prayer walks are good, yes. But we need to clean up our neighborhood.

  • LH Pony

    My husband and I walked down Lanshire yesterday and there were several construction workers. I see absolutely no problem with DPD asking them routine questions, regardless of their race, build, etc. It’s not racial profiling if you do it across the board.

  • LH Pony

    My husband and I walked down Lanshire yesterday and there were several construction workers. I see absolutely no problem with DPD asking them routine questions, regardless of their race, build, etc. It’s not racial profiling if you do it across the board.

  • Wilson!

    That assumes the contractors actually obtained the permits they charged the homeowners for…

  • Wilson!

    That assumes the contractors actually obtained the permits they charged the homeowners for…

  • Fenchurch Neighbor

    Bill Blaydes is right to question DPD on interviewing construction and landscaping crews. There are several home renovation projects going on within houses of the Aldwick home. DPD should pull all building permits and begin interviewing the contractors.

  • Fenchurch Neighbor

    Bill Blaydes is right to question DPD on interviewing construction and landscaping crews. There are several home renovation projects going on within houses of the Aldwick home. DPD should pull all building permits and begin interviewing the contractors.

  • Guest

    The city should invest in street lights. Ferndale and Aldwick are extremely dark due to all of the trees.

  • Guest

    Stop pinching pennies and leave your porch lights on at night – it could save a life someday. Turn on those security lights in back, too. Let’s light up Lake Highlands!

  • Mindee Haas- RF

    great recap, Carol. Thank you SO much for getting this out so quickly for those of us deeply concerned but couldn’t attend on the short notice.