Community policing has come of age, and East Dallas will see a major investment of police resources to carry out this grassroots, cop-on-the-beat crime-fighting program.
Four years ago, Interactive Community Policing was an experiment limited to a small area of the City. It has taken several years of funding commitment and the support of our police leadership to make this program a reality in more of our neighborhoods. In the few areas where officers were assigned full-time to get to know and protect the people, the results have been dramatic.
Community policing is being expanded to incorporate “Weed and Seed” concepts pioneered in Old East Dallas. Last November, the original Weed and Seed effort in East Dallas won a $165,000 federal grant to carry out its work.
Under Weed and Seed, efforts are directed in a target area to weed out drug trafficking and violent crime, replacing them with economic development initiatives, educational programs, City services and other enhancements.
The combined ICP/Weed and Seed program began last year in a dozen areas of the City. This year, Old East Dallas and the Cochran Heights/Vickery Place neighborhoods will be among another 12 areas to receive this increased investment of City resources.
Two police officers will be assigned full time to these areas, and other City departments will be brought in to coordinate a variety of services from parks to code enforcement.
Much of these new areas are in Council District 14, which saw a drop in crime during January (the latest month for which statistics are available) from the same month last year.
But crime reduction is only one aspect of a healthy and thriving community. The new approach to dealing with neighborhood problems is as much about economic development and quality of life as it is about sheer numbers of criminals taken off the streets.
That is why the list of East Dallas businesses involved in this effort is as impressive as neighborhood and crime watch associations. Dallas neighborhoods will thrive when adjacent, compatible businesses can survive.
This will be my last column for the Advocate. In June, I will leave the Council. It has been my honor to represent District 14 for the past four years and my pleasure to have accomplished so many things I set out to do for our community.
I appreciate the Advocate for providing this forum to stay in touch with you. We are fortunate to have community magazines like this one to be available to bring us a little closer together.
Best wishes to you, my neighbors.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.