Feds' Illegal Game Room Bust Brings Relief to Northeast Dallas Crime Hot Spot

Until law enforcement busted up the illegal gambling joint at Abrams Road and Interstate 635 last month, nearby business owners say they didn’t know what was going on inside the tacky storefront, its windows shrouded from top to bottom with heavy black plastic.But they saw what spilled out into the parking lot: people coming and going at all hours, aggressive loiterers, drug sales and occasional shootings. The adjacent brand-new medical clinic, restaurants, convenience stores, tax preparers and salon had increasingly lost business after the mystery tenant moved in. They worried about their own safety and that of their customers.Those same business folks tell me it’s a night-and-day difference since the feds took down the no-name troublemaking establishment.The Dec. 12 raid is the latest victory for Project Safe Neighborhood -- a crime-fighting partnership between federal, state and local authorities -- over a small but pernicious offender. It was also the first time the operation, which embedded last year in dangerous northeast Dallas hot spots, targeted an illegal game room. Many times, residents aren’t even aware that these gambling dens exist in their midst. They often operate invisibly throughout the city, enticing the most desperate and poor with promises of payouts in exchange for feeding slot and video machines.Not only do these illegal game rooms prey on the vulnerable, they erode public safety in the surrounding neighborhood. Seldom is gambling the only illegal activity on the premises, whose locations spread through whispers in sketchy circles and are marked with shockingly bright neon glows.  Continue reading...

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