Lake Highlands has a lot of work to do when it comes to crime. For example, eight people were shot at a Skillman nightclub this past weekend …

The Dallas Morning News has published a comprehensive interactive online map of Dallas’ 27 crime hotspots. The map illustrates substandard apartments, payday loan/fast cash shops, Dallas Housing Authority projects and apartments built before 1985 in relation to crime. It also shows 2010 U.S. Census data regarding ethnicity and income of the residents in these areas.

For those of us who live in Lake Highlands, especially the northernmost part, the map is startling (of course, not so surprising if you follow crime reports regularly). We have a concentration of high-crime pockets. All connected, there is Forest-Audelia, number two in the city (it has been listed a violent crime hotspot for the past several years), Greenville-LBJ is number 10 and Skillman-Royal is number 13.

Bordering Lake Highlands there is Five Points, or Vickery Meadow, at number four.

Actually, this is the most encouraging thing on the list. Vickery Meadow, in years past, has topped the list of Dallas Police Departments’ crime pockets. Its dramatic drop probably is in direct relation to the efforts of the Vickery Meadow Improvement District — in March 2011 we wrote a piece about the myriad efforts to improve the quality of lives (and there are about 36,000 of them in the three-square miles of apartments) in the area.  This should be encouraging. I mean, sure they are still number four, but this shows that what they are doing is working, if gradually.

Over the past few years, Lake Highlands apartment managers, our council representative, police and residents have met and discussed similar efforts, but we haven’t really implemented a concentrated plan that I know of. I think neighborhood crime watch groups have succeeded at keeping the single-family neighborhoods in Lake Highlands very-to-relatively safe, but we have yet to figure out a way to make a big impact on crime within the apartments, despite some isolated efforts at apartment communities such as The Madeline, Trinity Palms and the Indigo.

In addition to high-density, low-rent apartments, surrounding businesses seem to relate to crime. Based on the DMN’s map, high crime areas have a concentration of payday loan shops — something Jerry Allen, District 10, is trying to restrict/regulate— for example. Not shown are nightclubs and late night businesses such as the Rolls Royce club (in the pictured Skillman Commons center). The club is located near Skillman-LBJ (less than a mile from #2-spot Forest-Audelia) near Michelle’s and Cuzco (decent restaurants that many more would probably frequent were they not next to a place like Rolls Royce). Over the weekend there, eight people were shot in a gang fight during an early Saturday morning “rap off”.