dixon circle 2 DPD Shooting Neighborhood May Not Look How You Think

A well manicured home in the Dixon Circle area of South Dallas. (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Is it Mayberry or Dodge City?

Folks in the south Dallas neighborhood where a suspect was killed in an officer-involved shooting acknowledge that there is a concern over quality of life. But they are adamant about fighting against the label of being the most dangerous neighborhood in the city.

“It was a quiet neighborhood when I moved here,” resident Wilhemina Green explained. “I came with whole family. It was five of us when I moved here.”

While Green lives just one block from where the shooting occurred it’s really a world away.

Green has lived in the area for more than 50 years. Her street is still lined with small homes, and the neighborhood signs proudly displaying the Dixon Circle name. It’s an atmosphere and attitude that reflects the community she moved to.

But the residue of crime, drugs, poverty and deterioration has drowned so much of that view just blocks away from her street.

“Little dope houses here and there,” Green said of close surroundings. “That’s changed everywhere.”

The Dixon Circle area, which sits like an island just south of Fair Park, is home to almost 3,000 people.

The Larry Johnson Recreation Center, named after the former NBA star and Dallas native, is the crown jewel of the community.

While resident Adrian Thomas believes Dixon Circle’s danger impact is real, he thinks police often exaggerate it.

“I don’t hear gunshots at night, but I have seen a lot of police,” he said. “I don’t want to call it harassment, but police are out of line.”

MORE: Crowd Gathers After Officer-Involved Shooting

In the past four weeks, the Dallas Police Department has reported that 87 crimes were committed in the Dixon Circle area — mostly home burglaries, thefts and assaults.

People who raise their children in the area also remind that most often it is those who call Dixon Circle home that are often the victims.

“Maybe the neighborhood doesn’t look like Highland Park or Lake Highlands, but the people here are hardworking, they go to work,” resident Tabitha Wheeler said.

Dixon Circle is changing. Wilhemina Green’s neighbors are younger families, but poorer. Hispanics are now the majority of the population, but the rec center is still the center of the community.