Police report 11 percent decrease in violent crime in Cedar Springs Wycliff TAAG in first 6 months of 2010
John Wright | Online Editor email@example.com
Despite a recent high-profile hate crime in Oak Lawn, the area surrounding the Cedar Springs strip has gotten safer over the last six months, according to statistics from the Dallas Police Department.
In 2009, a roughly 1-square-mile area that includes the gay entertainment district recorded the fourth-most violent offenses of any of the city’s 26 worst crime hotspots.
But during the first six months of 2010, the area known as the Cedar Springs Wycliff Target Area Action Grid (TAAG) saw an 11 percent drop in violent crime, the statistics show.
From January through June of this year, the Cedar Springs Wycliff TAAG recorded 95 violent offenses, down from 107 in the same period last year.
While DPD officials have cautioned against ranking the areas, 2010 numbers put the Cedar Springs Wycliff TAAG at No. 7 on the citywide list for violent crime.
DPD Deputy Chief Malik Aziz, who’s over the department’s Northwest Division, said according to more recent statistics, through July 11, violent crime is down 15 percent in the Cedar Springs Wycliff TAAG.
“We’ve been pouring a lot of resources into different areas,” Aziz said Thursday, July 15. “We’ve still got issues we’ve got to deal with, but crime is on the decrease. The payoff is as great as the community engagement with police.”
Overall, the 26 TAAGs have seen a 6 percent reduction in violent crime in the first half of this year.
In the Cedar Springs Wycliff TAAG, individual robberies have seen the biggest drop, going from 69 in the first six months of 2009 to 55 this year. The other categories of violent crime — aggravated assault, murder, rape and business robberies — have stayed roughly the same.
Aziz said there’s also been a substantial decrease in nonviolent offenses — including property crimes such as burglary and theft — in the Cedar Springs Wycliff TAAG.
Scott Whittall, president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association, said he’s noticed a difference.
“It’s definitely an improvement,” Whittall said. “I think as business owners on the street, we feel it. It’s definitely reduced, so those numbers don’t shock me.”
Whittall and others have criticized the TAAG statistics in the past, saying they’re not an accurate reflection of the gay entertainment district.
While it includes the strip, the Cedar Springs Wycliff TAAG stretches to Parkland Hospital and beyond Stemmons Freeway in some places.
“I have a feeling that in our little area, that it’s a higher drop,” Whittall said.
He added that he’s noticed an increased police presence, including an unmanned cruiser parked in the Kroger parking lot.
“That type of little extra effort is very welcome,” he said.
Whittall, co-owner of Buli Café, said the business received a visit recently from DPD officers conducting a survey about crime issues in the area.
During a June meeting with LGBT stakeholders, new Police Chief David Brown promised a return to community-oriented policing.
“We’re just trying to drill down to be more pointed and more focused on specific things we need to target,” Aziz said of the survey.
Top 10 Crime Hotspots in Dallas in 2010
Area: No. offenses
Five Points: 153
Northwest Hwy/Harry Hines: 114
Jim Miller Loop 12: 96
Cedar Springs/Wycliff: 95
Jefferson Corridor: 91
Source: Dallas Police Department
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 16, 2010.