Your smart phone is not safe on McKinney Avenue, as DPD warns of thefts in Uptown

This message was sent out by the Dallas Police Department’s Central Patrol Division on Thursday night:

During the past few weeks, as the weather has warmed up, an increase in thefts in the Uptown area has been observed.

Two young males have been observed by witnesses taking property, primarily smart phones (iPhones in particular) from businesses in the Uptown area, especially McKinney Avenue. Patrons of restaurants and bars along McKinney avenue report thefts as well, with many of thefts in these businesses taking place both indoors and on outdoor patios.

In addition to smart phones, an iPad, purses, and other personal property have been taken.

Crowded areas are attractive to criminals because people are distracted, and because it is easy for a criminal to disappear into crowds after stealing items.

Please keep personal items secured. Keep phones and other small items, especially electronic items, inside your purse or pocket. Keep your purse strap secured to your body to help prevent purse snatch, and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid laying items down on your table and leaving them there. It has take only a second or two for items to be stolen off of table tops, literally from under the noses of victims.

If you observe people whom you believe to be suspicious don’t hesitate to report to 911. Make note of their description (sex, race, height, weight, hair color, hair length, clothing color and description), what activities make you suspicious, and what direction the suspect(s) leaves the area. It is very likely that the suspect(s) will be gone by the time police arrive, so a good description will help officers when they search the area.

DPD’s warning followed an e-mail earlier this week from Nancy Weinberger, Oak Lawn Crime Watch volunteer, who says thefts have been reported at Dallas Fine Wines at 3518 Oak Lawn, Black Friar Pub at 2621 McKinney, and Idle Rich Pub at 2622 McKinney:

This was a big problem during the summer time. It looks like the same 2 suspects are at it again. This past summer they hit several businesses, not just bars, but all business types. Please pass this on to all of the business owners that you have contacts with and just anybody that lives in the Uptown area.

The same two suspects seem to be committing Thefts in the Uptown area, the suspects go into a Bar/Restaurant distract the employees/customers and take a purse or cell phones.  Suspects are two B/M’s one is 6’2 160 and the other is shorter 5’9 150 and they flee in a White Ford Crown Victoria parked nearby. They appear to be maybe 20ish or younger.

—  John Wright

ACLU of Texas releases ‘banned books’ report

“Banned Books Week,” the ACLU’s annual effort to raise awareness of the dangers of censorship, is Sept. 25-Oct. 2, and the ACLU of Texas on Wednesday released its annual report, “Free People Read Freely,” on the number of books that have been challenged, banned or restricted in Texas public and charter schools during the previous school year.

According to the report, 87 books were challenged in Texas schools during the 2009-10 school year. Of those, 24 percent — or 20 books — were banned and another 20 percent were “restricted.” That’s down a bit from the previous two school years. In 2007-08, 102 books were challenged, and 27 were banned. In 2008-09, 98 were challenged and 26 banned.

Half the books that were banned were in middle schools. Another 29 percent were banned in elementary schools, and 13 percent in high schools. The remaining 8 percent were banned in intermediate schools. The vast majority of the books that were challenged — 44 — were challenged because they included sex or nudity. Profanity/poor language came in as the reason for 29 challenges; 18 for violence and horror; 17 for drugs and alcohol; 12 for being offensive to religious beliefs; and 11 for being politically, socially or racially offensive. No reason was given for 14 of the challenges.

So yes, the numbers are down. But the idea that books are banned at all is infuriating. And of course, books that included anything about LGBT people or issues hit the list.

I can’t say this is a definitive list of books challenged for LGBT content; these are just the ones on the list that I know for sure included some LGBT content: “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, about two male penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo that fall in love and start a family by sitting on an egg til it hatches; “Born to Rock,” by Gordon Korman, about the former president of a school’s Young Republican Club who, after a debate involving accusations of homophobia and cheating, sets off to find his biological father who is a punk rock star; “Eight Seconds,” by Jean Ferris, about a young man who realizes he is gay while attending a rodeo camp; “Far From Xanadu,” by Julie Anne Peters, about a young woman who comes to terms with her own homosexuality while trying to find a way to escape her small home town; and “In Our Mothers’ House,” by Patricia Polacco, the story of the happy and well-adjusted life of a family headed by two lesbians who raise several racially diverse children.

Yep, that last one has to go for sure! Can’t have our kids reading anything that might give them the idea gays and lesbians and their families can be happy and well-adjusted!

“Eight Seconds,” “Far From Xanadu,” “And Tango Makes Three” and “In Our Mothers’ House” were actually removed from libraries. “Born to Rock” was moved to a restricted access section. Oh, and one school didn’t take “Tango” out completely, but did move it to a restricted access section.

Of course, the usual suspects are on the challenged list, too: J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye,” Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon,” “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” and just about any other book written by Judy Blume; and “Go Ask Alice,” the book written by an anonymous author that chronicles the life of an adolescent losing control as she battles mental illness and drug use.

But there were a couple that I was surprised to see on the list. I mean, really — “Time-Life Magazine” and “Guiness Book of World Records”? Really?

Still, there was a book even I was surprised — and perhaps a little disturbed — to see was actually in school libraries: “The History and Methods of Torture” by Brian Innes. I’m not saying ban the book, but I was surprised to find out there even was a “juvenile literature” book on the methods and implements of torture used during the Inquisition and the witch hunts. Who knew?

Want to see the whole list and read the ACLU report for yourself? Go here.

—  admin