Despite a recent rash of violent robberies involving gay bar patrons in Oak Lawn, a Dallas police official indicated Wednesday that people shouldn’t be at all reluctant to visit the area during the upcoming gay Pride weekend.
“We’re ready to roll,” said Deputy Chief Malik Aziz, who’s over DPD’s Northwest Division, which includes the Cedar Springs strip. “We’re going to make sure the area’s safe.”
Aziz made the comments following the monthly meeting of the Oak Lawn Apartment Managers and Stakeholders Crime Watch group, at the Oak Lawn Library.
During the meeting, Crime Watch members criticized DPD officials for failing to promptly notify them about last week’s aggravated robbery on Dickason Avenue, just a block from the Cedar Springs strip.
Nancy Weinberger, the leader of the Crime Watch group, said she didn’t learn about the Friday night incident until Tuesday.
“My issue is we’re not getting the information about assaults and armed robberies that happen in this neighborhood,” Weinberger told police officials during the meeting. “If somebody gets armed robbed or attacked in the neighborhood, I want to know about it.”
Aziz responded that there needs to be a “50-50 partnership” between police and citizens, meaning those who want information need to sign up for e-mails from DailyCrimeReport.com or search the department’s public website at DallasPolice.net. He said police officials can’t always send out alerts about every violent offense right away, partly because they don’t have the technological infrastructure to do so.
“I’ve got 50 percent, I’m going to work on that,” Aziz told the group. “The other 50 percent is you.”
Aziz said after the meeting that police have no leads in Friday’s robbery, which occurred in the same block where Jimmy Lee Dean was brutally attacked two years ago. Aziz said he’s “perplexed” by the incident and frustrated that despite an overall drop in violent crime in the area this year, police continue to battle the perception that it’s unsafe around the bars.
“I think we need more eyes and ears and more engagement in this neighborhood,” he said. “Unfortunately we can’t be in every place at once.”
Aziz said one way for people to get involved is to sign up for the Volunteers In Patrol program. They can do so by calling 214-670-6561.