The Dallas Police Department Central Patrol Division had its quarterly crime watch meeting at the Meadows Foundation Center for Community Cooperation (2900 Live Oak) on December 2, 2015. The meeting was well-attended with about fifty concerned citizens, a large number of central patrol police officers and other city service representatives (including our police representative for Bryan Place, NPO Jeff LaBarba and our Code Compliance representative, Jose Ruiz). The 90 minute meeting was lively and included presentations by Mike Rawlings (Mayor), Vana Hammond (Chief of Community Relations), Maureen Milligan (Operation Blue Shield and Community Prosecution), David Hogan (Crisis Intervention) and Deputy Chief Lawton (DPD). The following is a summary of the points made during the meeting:
Mayor Mike Rawlins remarks included an upbeat assessment of the state of our city and Police Department. Crime statistics in Dallas have dropped steadily over the past twenty years (violent crime has been cut-in-half since 2005). Although he acknowledged the recent uptick in the crime statistics in 2015, he was hopeful that the trend lines for lower crime rates will continue into the future. Mayor Rawlins complemented the DPD on its record of excellence. He also discussed the initiatives the City is taking to address homeless issues in downtown and the surrounding areas.
Operation Blue Shield is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build support and appreciation for the DPD and the officers who put it all on the line for our community. The organization also raises funds to purchase needed safety equipment not always provided for in the city budget. Please see their facebook page for more information and opportunities to get involved.
The Dallas Community Prosecution Team was established in 2001 to work in partnership with community leaders, Dallas Police Department, Dallas Fire Department and city code enforcement to develop long-term solutions to quality of life issues not easily resolved by any one city department or group. The team is headed by the City Attorney’s Office and attempts to strategically attack blight and havens for criminal activity by coordinating city services and departments. This program has been especially effective in targeting and focusing city resources into problem properties and neighborhoods. One example given of a local community benefiting from this program was the Jubilee Park area close to Fair Park.
DPD Officer David Hogan discussed the department’s Crisis Intervention group and how it deals with cases that only social services can solve. The crisis team includes licensed social workers and counselors that handle cases involving juvenile problems, homelessness, mental illness and the elderly.
The Central Division has opened a new third-shift (11pm – 8am) to the downtown patrol. This is in response to the increase in residential and commercial activity downtown and the growing vitality of the inner city. Deputy Chief Lawton mentioned that there are now over 10,000 residences in the central business district.
The crime reports for Bryan Place consistently indicate that the two primary crimes in our area include theft of personal items taken from parked vehicles (burglary motor vehicle – BMV) and open garage doors. The following are recent posts from NPO Dang Le of the DPD to help prevent these common crimes.
Burglary Motor Vehicle (BMV)
Thescrimes represent about half of all crime reported in the City of Dallas and Bryan Place. The National Crime Prevention Council and the Dallas Police Department recommend the following tips:
Never leave your vehicle unattended with keys in the ignition.
Loc your doors and keep the windows closed, even when parked in front of your home.
Park in busy and well‐lit areas.
Do not leave valuables in plain view.
Never leave your vehicle registration or other personal documents in your parked vehicle.
Equip your vehicle with an alarm system or other anti‐theft device.
A very common access point for home burglaries is an open garage door (including garage doors that are accessed using a stolen garage door opener). Thieves drive around looking for open garage doors from which y can help themselves to the contents. Always keep your garage door closed, even if you are only away from the garage for a few minutes. The following are a few of the measures that can be taken to protect your garage and backyard shed:
Mark all property, including lawnmowers, generators, bikes, saws, leaf blowers, etc. with your driver’s license number and state abbreviation (for more information on DPD Operation ID see the Resource Package from the Dallas Crime Watch.
Do not leave the garage remote attached to the visor in your vehicle. Either lock the remote in a secure place or invest in a remote you can attach to your key ring.
Homeowners who often forget to shut their garage door should consider purchasing an “open garage door indicator” that alerts them when the garage door is open.
Lock garage windows and use blinds to conceal items inside.
Secure items such as lawnmowers, generators and bicycles to fixed objects using a good chain/cable and pad lock.
Install motion sensor lights on sheds and garages.
Keep bushes/trees around garage and sheds pruned to prevent easy hiding places.
As always, please call 911 with any suspicious activity in the neighborhood. You do not have to give out your personal information or visit with a police officer in person. These thieves are looking for the easiest opportunities available – let’s make it as difficult as possible on the bad guys and send a message that Bryan Place is not an easy target
On November 11, there was a large Crime Watch Meeting held at the Grace Methodist Church, which I attended as your representative. Both First Assistant Police Chief Cato and Major John Lawton, who is in charge of Central Patrol, were theres well as most of the Neighborhood Patrol Of?icers. The meeting was very well‐attended by representatives of all the surrounding neighborhoods.
Residents expressed their concerns about crime in the neighborhoods. There was also an opportunity for the police to tell us what they are doing to alleviate the problems and what we can do to help. Chief Cato reported that 85 percent of crimes in the area are property crimes. Those include vehicle break‐ins, as well as house and garage break‐ins and theft of property such as bicycles, porch furniture and potted plants.
The best way to combat this kind of crime is prevention. To do that we need to share information and to report crime. Major Lawton emphasized the importance of calling 911 to report crime. Don’t be afraid that what you have to report is too minor. He wants to assure you that crime reports are prioritized so that emergencies and crimes needing priority attention will be responded to first. They target a 7‐minute response time for emergency calls, and a 12‐minute response time for priority calls. That is good to know when you have an emergency that really needs police attention. If the perpetrator is gone and you are in no danger, someone will probably take your report by phone unless you specifically request an officer to respond. So
property crimes or things considered minor won’t prevent more serious crimes from being answered.
But reports submitted by phone are still extremely important. Crime reports (including phone reports) are used to allocate resources. Resources deployed include not only bait cars and bait bicycles, but also plainclothes, undercover officers who monitor high crime activity areas and regular patrol officers. Once a year the crime reports are analyzed and patrols and resource are distributed among various areas based on the number of crimes reported. So please, don’t hesitate to call 911.
McGuff has gone mobile! Have there been burglaries near your home? Do you know if there are any sex offenders on your street? Now there’s an app for that! Download the McGuff Mobile smartphone app and enroll for free membership.
Once enrolled, you’ll be able to view an interactive map displaying crimes and sex offenders in your neighborhood. You will be able to receive alerts and information via email or mobile device for as many addresses as you like, and you can even get information where you are standing – even as you are reading this.
After signing up, you can receive law enforcement emergency alerts, crime alerts, crime prevention tips, severe weather alerts, hazardous material alerts, and much more from trusted sources. The app also includes a virtual neighborhood watch where you can share photos and information about suspicious activity with neighbors, police, and even Homeland Security.
The McGuff Mobile app is available for iPhone and Android for free on the iTunes App Store or Android Market.
I was fearful of walking around my campus at night. After downloading the McGruff Mobile app, I feel more aware in my surroundings.
~ Max, a fulltime college student
The Dallas Police Department held a community outreach event on December 20 and invited the Bryan Place neighbors to have coffee and conversation with our neighborhood police patrolmen.
Several patrol officers, along with the Unit Commander and the Sergeant for our area, were there to hear our concerns and answer questions. They brought along their mascot, Officer McGruff in costume, as well as the animated Officer Mike on his remote‐controlled tricycle to fascinate any children who might attend.
It proved to be a congenial and worthwhile outreach.
The most frequent crime in our community continues to be auto break‐ins. Remember to remove all items from the interior of your car that might be visible if you park on the street. Many of the incidents result in auto repairs more expensive than the items taken.