In July 2014, DPD conducted a raid on an illegal gambling business right here in our neighborhood. Long story short, the owner of an Elmwood business reached out to Elmwood Neighborhood Association that January to inform them of hundreds of cars that would suddenly park in the commercial district and strangers coming in to ask where the "game room" was. ENA's then-president Kenneth Denson investigated and reached out to DPD and Scott Griggs for help, and a months-long process culminated in the seizure of "31 8-liner style machines, almost $4,700 in cash as well as documents and monitors from the building." (Note: Under Texas law, the machines themselves are not illegal, only the payout of cash prizes from such machines.)
The House Always Wins
The moral of the story is that when it comes to public safety, it’s OK to be nosy. See a bunch of cars you don’t recognize? Ask questions. Notice the lights on in a building you know to be vacant? Find out if new tenants need a welcome basket. As we work to make improvements to the Elmwood commercial district, it’s important to know that no amount of security cameras or pedestrian lighting can guarantee public safety; only “eyes on the street” can do that, to borrow a term from Jane Jacobs – not because you're the eyes and ears of the Dallas Police Department but because you're taking a genuine interest in what's happening around you.
To help neighbors know who to contact about a certain property that might be the cause or victim of trouble, ENA's Downtown Elmwood Committee developed an interactive survey that links Google Maps data with public DCAD property records. It is most definitely a work-in-progress and, as usual, your feedback is very much appreciated.
We hope this will be one way that neighbors can help make Downtown Elmwood safer and prevent anything like becoming the target of potentially dangerous visitors from happening again in the future.