DPD Auto Lot Not Safest Place for Cars

Police pound has ongoing problems with vandalism, burglary

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Thursday, Sep 30, 2010  |  Updated 3:45 PM CDT
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There have been nearly two dozen reports of theft and vandalism this year at the <a title=Dallas Police impound lot on Vilbig Road, even after security improvements." />

Ken Kalthoff, NBCDFW.com

There have been nearly two dozen reports of theft and vandalism this year at the Dallas Police impound lot on Vilbig Road, even after security improvements.

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Crime reports show nearly two dozen incidents in the past year at the Dallas police auto pound -- even after security improvements.

The police department runs the lot on Vilbig Road near Fort Worth Avenue to securely impound about 100 vehicles per day.

In recent years, the city has installed a strong iron fence, better lighting and video surveillance.

But new crime reports indicate ongoing problems with vandalism, including broken vehicle windows, and vehicle burglary, including stolen wheels and a stolen gun.

Councilman Dwaine Caraway, who chairs the City Council Public Safety Committee, said people should be able to expect to get their in the same condition as when they entered the lot.

"There's never an excuse when property is in the possession of the city of Dallas for any type of theft to occur," he said.

One car owner who recovered his vehicle Wednesday took careful inventory of its contents because he knew about auto pound's past reputation for theft.

"The entire life span of this property, it's had the same difficulty over and over again," Cosmo Johnson said. "It's hard to control. I mean, you'd have to practically do the Wall of China around it."

But Charlie Davidson, who owns D & W towing, a wrecker company that frequently delivers vehicles to the auto pound, said he doubts some of the theft reports.

"There's a lot of people say there was stuff in the car that wasn't there when it came in," he said.

Police spokesman Sgt. Warren Mitchell said no one from the department was available Wednesday to comment on the auto pound crime reports.

Caraway said he wants answers from the department.

"We will begin to do a formal review," he said.

Meanwhile, the city is also taking bids from private companies to operate the auto pound. Bidders might propose using the same site or offer the city a different site.

Assistant City Manager Ryan Evans said it could take a year to review the bids and decide if the change is worthwhile.

Evans said possible privatization of the auto pound is an entirely separate issue from proper security of the existing operation.

The city currently employs about 45 people at the auto pound, including about a dozen police officers.

NBC DFW's Shane Allen contributed to this report.

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