Loitering in South Dallas has gotten out of hand, according to one city leader. Councilman Kevin Felder is calling on the Dallas Police Department to fix it.
Felder's district encompasses much of the Fair Park neighborhood where he says the problem persists. He says loitering is a problem all along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from Fair Park well beyond Interstate 45.
Business owners are also expressing concern.
Paulette Johnson shook her head as she explained the loitering problem outside her south-side restaurant, Trucker's Cafe, along MLK Jr. and how she tries to fight it.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"I just tell them they can't stand in front of this business like that. It's a place of business. Either you pay rent here or I pay rent. It's just we both can't be here," Johnson said.
She says despite her asking them the leave, the loiterers still linger. Johnson says it's a problem that stretches throughout neighboring south-side streets. Loitering just seems like a way of life in South Dallas, she says.
But not if Felder has anything to do with it. He says he's tired of the crime associated with loitering.
"There's loud music, there's drinking, there's drug abuse, marijuana smoking, just all sorts of things and some prostitution," Felder said.
He says it's happening right out in the open and laments nothing is being done about it.
Felder is not only asking the police department to strengthen the ordinance, but he is also in talks with the city's legal team.
"That's great. I mean, it should have been done a long time ago, so whatever he can do to help the south here, I mean, I think it's great," Johnson said.
Felder blames the problem on a lack of opportunity for citizens and says he's also devising a plan to bring more businesses and job opportunities to South Dallas.
The Dallas Police Department did not respond to NBC 5's request for comment on the matter.
According to the city attorney's office, a person could face a misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $500 for loitering.