Although it’s been quieter in Oak Lawn recently, two attacks took place last week.
This past weekend another attack was prevented by a Dallas Police Volunteer patrol.
The attacks the previous week were not reported to police. In those two cases a couple holding hands was beaten up and a trans woman was attacked and required stitches on her chin.
On Saturday, Feb. 26, John Anderson and Cannon Brown, who are part of the Dallas Police Volunteers patrol in Oak Lawn, decided to cruise the neighborhood from 11 p.m.-4 a.m. Brian Taylor was in the car training with them.
They encountered what Anderson called “three thugs.” One was pulling his shirt up to get gay guys to look at him. When a gay man did look in their direction, the three started yelling “faggot” at them. They pulled bandanas over their faces to hide their identities and headed toward him.
Anderson drove toward the group. Brown shined a flashlight at them and called 911. They ran in separate directions.
“Immediately, police were everywhere chasing them,” Anderson said.
One was caught within the neighborhood. He was a juvenile and released.
“No crime happened, because we stopped it,” Anderson said.
Anderson said neighborhood patrols are effective because people living in the neighborhood often know who belongs and what doesn’t look right even better than police, who may not regularly patrol that beat.
“If we think they’re up to no good, we follow them,” he said.
On the other hand, if someone’s walking to his car alone, they might follow him to make sure he gets there safely.
Anderson said there were only six Oak Lawn patrol volunteers last September. Now, 21 have finished training and are working with police. Since he completed his class and his ride-along training, Anderson’s logged 20 hours patrolling.
“Every time we go out, we’ve called 911 at least once,” Anderson said. “And we’re wanting more people to join.”
Anderson is collecting names of people interesting in joining the volunteer patrol program. If you would like to participate, contact him on his Facebook page.