DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Inside a Deep Ellum bar, concerned citizens mingled with police Tuesday night discussing crime trends in the city of Dallas.
A violent spree of armed robberies in Oak Cliff last week prompted the meeting, which aimed to bring together different neighborhoods working to increase safety.
Surveillance video captured Caroline Scharton’s piercing screams as she and her husband were robbed at gunpoint while walking their dog early Sunday morning on July 22.
“It was just tarrying, sheer terror, shock. I thought my husband, my life… I thought everything would be taken away,” she said.
The arrest of six juveniles accused of attacking the Schartons and committing three other robberies at gunpoint in Oak Cliff has drawn attention to the juvenile crime system.
Dallas Police Association president Michael Mata says too many juvenile offenders receive probation without ever going to trial.
“This is a huge problem. We have young adults… 16, 17-years-old that are out there committing serious, heinous crimes,” said Mata.
Shannon Scott who organized Tuesday’s meeting started a petition calling on Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson and local juvenile judges to certify some of the suspects in the Scharton’s case as adults.
She hoped the meeting would spur more solutions.
“I think if we can get all the adjacent communities working together then we can identify what kind of crimes are being committed and what’s working and not working in terms of prevention,” said Scott.
Sgt. Mata spoke to citizens about the loss of police manpower and its impact on proactive policing, which aims to prevent violent crime.
“You keep trying to do more with less. You’re just getting less with less,” he said.
Tuesday’s meeting he hoped would spur more local residents to push city hall for change.