Dallas Neighborhood Steps Up Neighborhood Patrol Amid Police Officer Shortage; Resources Devoted to State Fair

An officer shortage and extra resources needed for the state fair have one Dallas neighborhood concerned and taking action by stepping up its own patrol efforts.

Residents of Oak Lawn are fighting to prevent a spike in crime like the one they experienced a few years ago when nearly two dozen assaults took place.

The goal is to protect residents and people leaving neighborhood bars and clubs.

You can call it a mobile neighborhood watch.

"We’re spending our time in these backstreets and neighborhoods just watching," said Lee Daugherty of Take Back Oak Lawn.

Daugherty spent some of his Saturday evening patrolling Oak Lawn.

"Any kind of suspicious activity," he said. "We don’t intervene of course."

His group is stepping up foot and vehicle patrols throughout the neighborhood.

"We just decided to do whatever we can to assist the Dallas Police Department," he said. "Just in case the normal patrols of this area are stretched thin and may not happen."

Stretched thin, he believes, because of the officer shortage and because of the State Fair of Texas where an undisclosed number of officers are patrolling.

"With the officer shortage and Fair Park exasperating that, we decided to go ahead and ramp quite a few of them up and try and maintain that level of vigilance over the next four weeks," he said. "We’re not trying to be cops. We’re trying to be decent neighbors and members of a community."

Take Back Oak Lawn says it receives tips from residents and works with Dallas police to address problems.

The Dallas Police Department Northwest Patrol Division released a statement to NBC 5, saying:

The Northwest Patrol Division definitely appreciates Take Back Oaklawn's partnership in helping us keep this community safe. We continue to provide additional officers to this community on a daily basis. Area operations include vehicle patrols, foot patrols and extra camera surveillance. Our Neighborhood Policing Unit also remains in constant contact with community stakeholders on our efforts to ensure a safe environment.