Oak Lawn hotspot falls from No. 2 to No. 14 over 4 years


TAKING BACK THE GAYBORHOOD | The Wycliff-Lemmon Target Area Action Grid, previously known as the Cedar Springs-Wycliff and Maple-Wycliff TAAG, is outlined in blue. (Dallas Police Department)

ANNA WAUGH  |  Staff Writer

Violent crime fell 11.5 percent in 2012 in the hotspot that encompasses the Cedar Springs strip, according to Dallas police statistics.

Four years ago, the area held the No. 2 spot for violent crime citywide after police identified the 27 worst hotspots for crime. In 2012, with 100 violent offenses, it fell to No. 14 on the list, down from No. 7 the previous year.

The Wycliff-Lemmon Target Area Action Grid, previously known as the Cedar Springs-Wycliff and Maple-Wycliff TAAG, also saw a decline in nonviolent crime of nearly 21 percent, resulting in a 19 percent drop in overall crime. The TAAG stretches roughly from Maple Avenue to Lemmon Avenue and from Oak Lawn Avenue to Kings Road.

Councilwoman Angela Hunt, whose represents part of the Wycliff-Lemmon TAAG area in District 14, said she’s very pleased with the numbers.

“There were some prominent crimes being committed in the Cedar Springs-Oak Lawn area that we were concerned about, and our police chief and his team really stepped up to come up with a good plan of attack in addressing those issues and working to ensure that we create a safe area,” she said.

Hunt also attributed the decrease in crime to the continued efforts of businesses and citizens in the area that have alerted police to problem areas.

“I think what’s significant is ensuring that we have a really strong police presence over there, that we have patrols in the neighborhoods and that our police are reaching out to community partners to make sure that we have strong connections within the various neighborhoods,” Hunt said.

Although the Wycliff-Lemmon TAAG ranked No. 14 citywide for violent crime in 2012, it remains at No. 10 for overall crime. The only category of offenses that increased was a 28 percent jump in thefts, with 140 incidents in 2012 compared to 109 in the previous year.

The 19 percent decrease in the Wycliff-Lemmon TAAG was part of the citywide crime reduction of nearly 11 percent last year, making it the ninth consecutive year crime has decreased. Police attribute that decrease mostly to patrols and added technology like the new program launched last year. The program is expected to eventually equip the 27 TAAGs with more bait cars, license plate readers and surveillance cameras to drive crime down in those areas.

Wycliff-Lemmon is No. 11 in line to receive the technology. While the top 10 were expected to have the technology by the end of December, an expected date for when the Oak Lawn area will receive the added technology is uncertain.

Lt. Tony Crawford with DPD’s Homeland Security and Tactical Intelligence Division said installing the technology in the TAAGs in progressing as the department works with companies to obtain the equipment.

“Of course, progress with each company advances at different rates. We will make announcements when the technology is put in place,” he said.

“Please be assured that the Dallas Police Department is making every effort to deploy the best products available.”

When the new technology is installed, crime in the Wycliff-Lemmon TAAG is expected to continue its decline.

David Richardson, president of Cedar Springs Merchant Association, said the organization is very grateful to police because they have increased patrols and provided added surveillance on top of the security patrol hired by CSMA.

“Fortunately I guess the numbers reflect that it’s working,” he said.

Richardson said the stronger police presence has led to more arrests and helped deter people from trying to steal cars or rob people, adding that new technology will likely only help more.

“It’s all helping,” Richardson said. “It’s making our community very safe and exciting to come back to where people don’t have to worry about things.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 18, 2013.