DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer
At the Mayor’s LGBT Task Force meeting this week, Councilman Adam Medrano announced that $600,000 in bond money would be redirected from street improvements to neighborhood safety, after a recent rash of attacks and robberies raised concerns in the area.
In addition, Medrano said, the Dallas Police Department will install 10 cameras near the Oak Lawn entertainment district’s Target Area Action Grid. Those are already funded.
Medrano said after bond money was dedicated to Cedar Springs Road, the neighborhood rejected all plans the city developed for the area. The only thing merchants, bar owners and community members agreed on was that they didn’t want the area to become anything like Lower Greenville.
So city planners, who repeatedly refused to use input given to them during open community sessions, were searching for new ideas.
The Dallas Police cameras will be installed in high traffic areas around Oak Lawn and not where recent attacks have taken place. Medrano said the bond money would be used, in part, for additional cameras to will target those areas.
For example, two attacks have taken place near the alley behind the Valero gas station on Cedar Springs Road. One camera purchased with bond money might be placed on the library building facing that area.
Lighting will be addressed as well. On Throckmorton Street, Caven Enterprises added its own lighting to illuminate the sidewalk along it’s paid parking lot. In addition, the company cut down shrubs that were creating dark and dangerous spots along Dickason Street, where many patrons park and at least one attack has taken place.
Michael Zander from Oncor attended the task force meeting and said he’ll be working with the city to help identify dark areas and then add street lighting with some of the bond money. He also asked community members to go to his company’s website, OncorStreetLight.com, and report streetlights that are out by simply clicking on the specific light on the map or reporting the number on the light pole or the address.
Task force member John Selig suggested looking into emergency call boxes placed throughout the area. He said in a Chicago neighborhood he lived in, that cut the crime rate dramatically.
Medrano appointed a committee to discuss how the money should be spent.
The DPD cameras will be monitored at Dallas City Hall by the police. These are the locations for the 10 cameras already funded:
• Lemmon/Oak Lawn
• Rawlins/Oak Lawn
• Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs
• Cedar Springs/Throckmorton
• Maple/Oak Lawn
These are already well-lit intersections, but police at the meeting said these are escape routes for criminals. While these cameras are not likely to catch an attack on the street, they’re likely to catch a shot of someone escaping the neighborhood.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 20, 2015.