DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – An assault on a young woman has some looking for new ways to improve security in one of Dallas’s most popular entertainment districts.
Even on a Sunday night there’s a lot of activity in Deep Ellum, but it’s Fridays and Saturdays that have drawn increased police patrols. Now some business owners and residents say they’re grateful for the help, but it’s not enough.
After a focused effort to add 10 to 12 off-duty police officers to help patrol growing crowds, news that a woman was assaulted late Saturday night came as a disappointment, but not necessarily a surprise for some business owners.
“Honestly, wasn’t too shocked, just for the fact that we’re trying to put a bandaid on a gushing wound,” High and Tight owner Braxton Martin said.
Martin is one of several owners paying for additional off-duty police officers to work the streets during critical hours. He says it’s an improvement, but crowd control needs a drastic change with Deep Ellum enforcing a districtwide closing time.
“2 am starts rolling, 2:30, we start to have roll-throughs. I’ve seen before police officers on horses running through the street just slowly moving crowds,” Martin said.
“I think that would be good because also people are drinking, getting drunk, and I think that that forces them to leave,” said Deep Ellum resident Schuyler Dale.
Dale and Tiana Mixon both live and work in Deep Ellum. They say ideas like a district-wide closing time and shutting down Elm Street to vehicles at peak hours are things that should be considered to make them feel safer.
“We love living here, but we know we don’t go out at a certain time. We don’t get into cars with certain strangers, and you know it’s just being aware, being conscious and being careful,” Mixon said.
Martin says as the crowds continue to grow Deep Ellum has to be open to major changes beyond increased patrols.
“Some nights are good, and then some nights are horrific like last night where it’s like, dang we thought we were counterbalancing this, and it’s just… it’s not working,” Martin said.
Some of the business owners are hoping to hold an open forum in the days ahead to discuss how they might implement the changes they say are necessary to keep the area safe.