Downtown Public Safety Community Action Plan – Status Update July 2017

Downtown Dallas, Inc. continues to support public safety and Quality of Life Initiatives Downtown. The Community Action Plan is updated on a quarterly basis summarizing the top priorities from residents, businesses owners, and additional stakeholders. As continued follow-up, please find status updates related to the Community Action Plan below.  Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions, concerns, or additional contributions.

  1. Residential Property Safety Audits: Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) visits residential property managers to offer coordination assistance to conduct DPD-led safety audits of their buildings, including parking garages. This will include an emergency access plan for police and fire and recommendations from DPD to improve personal safety of residents.

STATUS: COMPLETE – DDI visited every residential property in the CBD in 2016 and successfully facilitated completion of the safety audits for 24 residential properties. Residential safety audits will be completed on an annual basis going forward. Updates and crime watch meetings are scheduled with residential property managers throughout the year.

  1. Ongoing Community Collaboration: DDI coordinates monthly meetings with law enforcement and homeless outreach services to collaborate on quality of life issues. Attendees include: DPD, DART, DISD, El Centro, The Bridge, Oncor, property owners, managers, security directors, merchant businesses, and other concerned employers.

STATUS: DDI facilitates 200 safety and crime watch meetings with Downtown stakeholders. The Safety Patrol attends monthly meetings with CBD Crime Watch, Downtown Residents Council (DRC), Downtown Dallas Neighborhood Association (DDNA), Downtown Security Directors Association (DSDA), West End Association, and the Farmers Market Stakeholders meeting. DDI/Downtown Safety Patrol (DSP) has a standing offer to attend and present at any and all resident, neighborhood association, and HOA meetings.

Councilmember Adam Medrano holds a monthly Crime Watch meeting held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. DDI actively helps promote the monthly Crime Watch meetings to residents and stakeholders.

West End Crime Task Force – DDI hosts monthly Task Force Meetings including 5 Downtown law enforcement agencies; DPD, DART Police, El Centro Police, DISD Police, DSP, and DPD Crisis Intervention Team. The group coordinates multiple initiatives to address crime and quality of life issues including panhandling sweeps, undercover narcotics operation, truancy round ups, and targeted patrols. West End crime was down 24% in 2016 (a record), and 11% YTD.

DART Police monitor 3,900 cameras on buses, trains, and at DART Rail Stations. Additional cameras are being installed at the West End Transfer Station and Rosa Parks Plaza by December. Five DART Police Officers are on duty at West End Station and Rosa Parks Plaza 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. West End Station physical upgrade includes high-intensity lighting, barriers, and jumbo video screen featuring CCTV video monitoring station.

  1. DART and DPD Communication: Several concerns over the communication between DART and DPD were expressed, including statistical reporting and call response.

STATUS: A monthly task force meeting has been established that includes DPD, DART Police, DISD Police, El Centro Police, and DSP to facilitate a coordinated effort to address public safety issues Downtown including: K2 use and K2 dealers, aggressive panhandling, and other Quality of Life Ordinance violations.

Other ongoing initiatives include:

  • Top 10 Panhandler initiative
  • Quality of Life Task Force
  • Impact Offender initiative

Additionally, a partnership has been implemented between the DPD, County Jail, District Attorney, and Criminal Courts to: identify, hold on high bond, prosecute, and issue maximum sentences to remove career criminals from Downtown. In the past, low bonds and plea bargains put career criminals back Downtown within 24 hours. The impact offender list ensures career criminals are held on high bond and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law (no plea bargains).

  1. Neighborhood Crime Watch: DDI hosts a series of workshops led by the DPD to offer Downtown-area neighborhood groups, building associations, and the overall community the opportunity to develop and establish a neighborhood crime watch program, building off of the success of the established Farmers Market Crime Watch.

STATUS: Again, we are grateful to Councilmember Medrano for his leadership to establish the monthly CBD Neighborhood Crime Watch.

  1. Lighting and Sidewalks: Though significant progress has been made to improve lighting and walkability, dark spots and broken sidewalks still exist in Downtown. Short term, DDI will work with residents to identify “quick win” projects that can be implemented swiftly with available resources. DDI will also engage Oncor in the conversation. Longer term, The 360 Plan is addressing many of these infrastructure issues to assist in setting priorities for future bond funds.

STATUS:

  • DSP officers check all Downtown street lights twice per month to note and report any light outages to private owners, Oncor, and City of Dallas. Most outages are fixed within 36 hours.
  • DDI has funded an engineering firm to evaluate and map sidewalk conditions for every sidewalk and crosswalk in the CBD. This report should be complete in Q3.
  • DDI will have initial design concepts for 8-10 new quick win projects to present for feedback by fall.
  • DDI has funded the design and has designated funds to complete the sidewalk on Main Street to connect Main Street District and Deep Ellum. DDI is also exploring ways to partner with Deep Ellum Foundation to incorporate additional lighting under 345. We are awaiting the approvals and/or additional information from TxDOT and City of Dallas on both projects.
  1. Merchant Safety Seminars: DPD and DSP to visit with Downtown merchant businesses to provide safety tips for employees, as well as security audits of their establishments.

STATUS: DPD and DSP regularly check in with businesses to offer safety audits and meetings. DSP and DPD have reached out to businesses in the CBD offering to conduct safety audits and meetings. Contact us if you have interest in this program and we will connect you with DPD Neighborhood Patrol Officer.

  1. Reinvigorate No Panhandling Campaign: DDI will reinvigorate its panhandling awareness campaign that is aimed at educating the public as to better ways to give, as well as the no panhandling law. Businesses may request the DDI No Panhandling posters by emailing info@downtowndallas.com.

STATUS: DDI has distributed over 250 ‘No Panhandling’ posters to businesses and residents since January 2016.  The more permanent orange and white no panhandling signs can be ordered directly from Fast Signs (for a nominal fee). Remember to call 911 on panhandlers, especially if aggressive. You can also call DSP at 214.741.1151 who can assist by calling our off-duty officer for assistance in removing/arresting the panhandler. DPD has made 171 panhandling arrests YTD.

  1. Lasting Solutions to Address Panhandling, Vagrancy, and Homelessness: These are three distinct issues that require a comprehensive approach including regulation, enforcement, and social services. DDI encourages public policy leaders, related agencies, social service providers, and the community to refocus on solution-based planning that looks at the entire city as a whole, understanding the impact of concentration in Downtown.

STATUS: DPD has added two full-time Crisis Intervention case workers dedicated to the Downtown area. DSP and DPD Crisis Intervention Team visit small homeless encampments around the perimeter of Downtown on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Homeless individuals are identified and offered transportation to shelters for services. Bus tickets home are offered to homeless meeting reunification guidelines; approximately 150 homeless are reunited with family through this program each year.

Mayor Mike Rawlings has assembled a Commission on Homelessness to address the issue from a broad, holistic perspective. With the community, DDI will continue to monitor and engage in the process.

  1. DPD K2 initiative: DPD, DART Police, and El Centro Police are working together to address K2 sales and use Downtown. The three law enforcement agencies collaborate with the Dallas County Sherriff’s Department and the District Attorney to hold K2 dealers on high bond and ensure they are prosecuted and not given a plea bargain.

STATUS: DPD targets K2 manufacturers and dealers, and has made over 60 K2 dealer arrests YTD. Dallas County District Attorney aggressively prosecutes K2 cases, holding dealers on high bond and sending them to prison for 4 to 20 years.

 

Thank you for taking an active role in making sure Downtown Dallas is safe and inviting for all! We’re all in this together, and appreciate your feedback.

Downtown Dallas, Inc. Team