NORTH DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When tenants drive into the Casa Verde Apartments in the 7200 block of Fair Oaks Drive in North Dallas, they’re greeted with boarded up windows and warning signs that instruct them to lock their cars and hide their belongings.
“It’s gotten worse in the last couple of months,” said tenant Adolf Jimenez. “For a while, they cleaned it up pretty good, but it seems like it’s coming back again.”
Former tenant Justin King and his mother left Casa Verde earlier this month, because they say they were tired of the crime. “They stole my car twice and they didn’t do anything in the office,” recalled King
The city of Dallas has taken notice and is now seeking an injunction against the landlord. The petition claims the owners of the complex have done nothing to curb a continual crime problem.
The complex, which was previously called Tres Arboles, was first identified by Dallas Police as part of the department’s SAFE program, which stands for Support Abatement Forfeiture and Enforcement.
“We realize that there are a number of offenses that stand out,” said Lt. Herbert Ashford of the Dallas Police Department. “We meet with that property owner and we talk about strategies on how we can improve this property,”
According to Lt. Ashford, police officers will work for several months with problem properties to make them safer, but sometimes the owners don’t cooperate. “We go the extra mile to try to get compliance with the property owner, but if they choose not to comply, the City Attorney’s Office can choose to take litigation against that property owner.”
In the case of Casa Verde, that’s exactly what the Dallas City Attorney’s Office did. But not before signing an agreement with the landlord in February, in which the owner agreed to screen tenants, install security lights and add security guards.
The City Attorney’s Office says crime, however, continued to be an issue and so it finally filed its petition asking the court to appoint a third-party management company to take over the property.
The petition cites crime statistics at the apartment complex from July of last year until June of this year by identifying 13 cases of drug possession, three aggravated assaults, one case of unlawfully carrying a weapon, one robbery and one murder.
During our investigation, CBS 11 approached a man who identified himself as the regional manager representing Casa Verde, but he declined to answer our questions and asked us to leave the property.
While the SAFE program targets apartments, businesses and single-family homes, the city of Dallas has a separate ordinance that targets only apartment complexes. If a property exceeds a certain crime threshold, the landlord must enroll in a “mandatory crime reduction program” or face being shut down.