Deep Ellum Is Looking To Curb Rising Crime With Earlier-Than-Usual Weekend Street Closures And Tons Of New Security Cameras.
Back in 2017 we asked, “Why is crime on the rise in Deep Ellum?” The simple answer being that dense population + late hours + alcohol = crime, but on a systemic level, cops have struggled to keep up with it all, on top of a myriad of other problems within the police department.
Now five years later and a 8.7% Dallas population growth rate, crime continues to rise. Recently, two were injured in a shooting on Elm Street on April 10. On March 18, three miles from Deep Ellum in Lower Greenville, a 20-year-old was killed in a drive-by shooting — Cowboys cornerback Kelvin Joseph being a passenger of the shooter’s car. Back in February, a break-in occurred on Canton Street, resulting in the business owner shooting one of the two suspects in self-defense.
With violence continuing to be a an issue for the community and reaching a near-boiling point, law enforcement and the Deep Ellum Foundation are making moves in attempt to suppress it.
Having already started last weekend, the district is blocking off some streets at night. From 10 p.m to 3 a.m, parts of Indiana, Crowdus, Main, Elm and Pryor Streets, as well as Malcom X Boulevard, will be closed to vehicular traffic and will have an officer parked at each barricade. DPD has carried out these closures every summer, a time when Deep Ellum gets an influx of visitors (and crime), but with the issue on every one’s minds as of late, they’ve started earlier this year. The Deep Ellum Foundation will be evaluating how businesses are impacted by these closures every week.
DPD continues its pilot program to close Main and Elm streets beginning at 10 p.m. this Friday and Saturday: pic.twitter.com/PJB8JlTopb
— Deep Ellum Foundation (@DEF_Texas) April 15, 2022
The goal is to see a decrease in drive-by shootings, speeding and robberies, but interestingly enough, the inverse discussion is happening over in Austin. Sixth Street, one of the city’s entertainment hubs, has been pedestrian-only on weekend nights since the ’90s. However, after a mass shooting last summer that injured 14 people, residents and business owners have petitioned for the streets to open up — the idea being that the lack of car access leads to too high of a concentration of people out in the street and in turn, trouble. Supporters of the reopening believe that similar tragedies could be avoided if people were able to drive through the area, but Austin officials aren’t convinced.
With the two cities having differing opinions on the effectiveness of road blockades, it begs the questions whether the solution to criminal activity lies within traffic control — if there’s even a tangible solution out there.
In addition to the early street closures, DPD has been carrying out after-hour security checks of businesses, leaving behind an official notice, and The Deep Ellum Foundation is installing a bunch of security cameras. There are so far 25 new cameras through out the neighborhood and Councilmember Jesse Moreno told Fox 4 that the team plans to install 50 in total.
They community has already benefitted at least once, as security footage is what helped police catch DaMichael Rose, the suspect for the shooting on April 10.
Along with the cameras is a command center which monitors them around the clock, being able to send footage directly to DPD within minutes.
New command center in Deep Ellum has 24/7 monitoring of new cameras installed by @DEF_Texas – 25 so far with plans to add another 20 by the end of the year. Recently, cameras captured a shooting & video was handed over to police in minutes @FOX4 pic.twitter.com/1FjhKV0X3a
— Lynnanne Nguyen (@LynnanneFOX4) April 18, 2022
Cover photo by Joe Uribe.