Can Dallas fight violent crime at Deep Ellum?

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A shooting at Deep Ellum early Sunday left one dead and five others injured. Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia told media over the weekend the department plans to tighten security at Deep Ellum in response to the shooting and other violent crime in the area.

“I don’t have it !!” Garcia wrote of the shooting. “We are bringing Deep Ellum back to our city. Zero tolerance.”

But some are concerned about what this means for the region and the success of the department’s tactics.

At around 12:40 a.m. Sunday, gunshots rang out over North Malcolm X Boulevard and Main Street. Police patrolling the area said 18-year-old Lathaniel Pearson was there “pointing a gun”. He dropped the gun and ran away from the police before they caught up with him. All the while, shooting continued elsewhere.

Police said other people may have fired guns, but did not disclose any information. Of the six people shot, one, an 18-year-old named Kenneth Walker, was killed. A 19-year-old who was not identified by police was in critical condition. Four other people have also gone to the hospital and are expected to survive.

Although he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and for evading arrest, police are still uncertain whether Pearson’s bullets hit the victims.

DPD erected barricades all around Deep Ellum later Sunday. Jessica Brodsky, a local bartender, said she was concerned the department’s efforts would negatively affect businesses and service workers in the area without significantly impacting crime. A police spokesperson said the department is working with the neighborhood in tackling crime.

“Every weekend, DPD works with the Deep Ellum Foundation to provide officers in the region,” the spokesperson said. “They work in many ways for visibility and patrol.”

It’s not enough, Brodksy suggested.

“Barricading a street does not prevent minors from loitering, people from drinking in the streets and parking lots, from being armed and from fierce fighting,” Brodsky said. “All of this has been going on for many, many years. ”

She said the entertainment district was one of the first to close due to COVID-19 and one of the last allowed to reopen.

“This has all been going on for many years. »- Jessica Brodsky, bartender

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“We have been examined under a microscope for code compliance, [Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission] and the Fire Marshal while trying to function and hopefully recoup the losses suffered by the shutdown, ”Brodsky said. “We care about how to navigate everything while keeping customers happy and safe. We need help, but blocking the streets is not enough.

She knows Deep Ellum will survive, but not how much it will cost.

“We, as in business, do not have the money, manpower or authority to prevent these crimes that occur on city streets, but we are often held accountable when they occur. produce, ”Brodsky said.

Dallas City Council voted last year to reduce the city’s police overtime budget by $ 7 million while increasing the overall police budget by $ 15 million. Some at the time wanted more cuts while others were dismayed at the millions taken from DPD’s overtime budget. After the city’s auditor released a preliminary report showing no apparent waste or abuse of police overtime funds, Mayor Eric Johnson said he planned to restore the budget. Brodsky said she thinks it’s a piece that can help solve Deep Ellum’s crime puzzle.

“Our officers need the city’s support to do their jobs,” she said.

A 90-day update to DPD’s violent crime reduction plan showed a 3.6% decrease in violent crime from last year, but aggravated assault increased by about 5.7 %.

John Jay Myers, owner of The Free Man Cajun Cafe and Lounge, said what needs to be done is simple.

“They need to shut down everything that is going on outside of clubs: outside DJs, random pop-up shops, etc.,” Myers said. “It has become so good that people think the police are not in control, so they will do everything.” He also said the police in the area had been too lenient. “It made everyone believe that you would basically have to kill someone to be arrested there,” he said.

Another Deep Ellum business owner who wished to remain anonymous said customers were starting to fear the area and “a strong police response was long overdue.”

“The financial losses we have all suffered as a result of the pandemic will be pale in comparison if the neighborhood becomes a place where violent crime is permitted and recognized as the norm,” said the owner. “Business owners, employees and customers deserve better from our city. ”



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