Just in time for Labor Day weekend, Dallas Police said they’re cracking down on late-night activity in some of the city’s most popular entertainment districts. This comes after reports of street racing and curfew violations.
Councilman David Blewett said the problem seems to be linked to life during a pandemic.
“A lot of people are not working downtown, and so you’re not having the normal traffic patterns. A lot of people are not going out to dinner like they used to, so you’re not having a lot of people out living their lives. So, into that emptiness, has come this chaos,” said Blewett.
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In a press release, Dallas Police said the crackdown is a collaborative community effort. They said the Public Works and Transportation Departments implemented street closures and what’s being called “traffic calming devices” in speeding hot spots.
“The idea of using barricades, of using orange barrels filled with water as a way of taking a lane or two away, of controlling traffic, of slowing traffic, I think does a lot of what a police officer in a car would do,” said Blewett. "And so I think we can do these things which then allows our officers to focus on other areas, other parts of the city."
As for curfew, for the next three weeks, juveniles under the age of 17 are not allowed on the streets of downtown or other named districts from 12:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. Enforcement of the order will cover Deep Ellum, West End, Farmers Market, Uptown, Victory Park and the Central Business District.
Stephanie Keller Hudiburg, Executive Director of the Deep Ellum Foundation, said several businesses welcome the ordinance.
“Our businesses, unfortunately, are not all able to be open in full capacity at this time, so we’re seeing people congregating in ways that has not been recommended by public health experts,” said Keller Hudiburg. “And with those crowds, we’re seeing that attract some of the other challenges that we’ve seen across downtown and across this city.”
Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano, whose district covers Deep Ellum, released this statement Friday:
“Collaborative efforts are essential to solve issues of this magnitude. I am proud to have helped build this coalition in order to protect Deep Ellum and Downtown. Together, we will bring back the positive quality of life in these neighborhoods.”
Blewett said addressing public safety concerns has a far-reaching impact.
“Not only is the city of Dallas addressing safety issues and traffic issues, but this is an economic issue. I would be concerned about going out to eat,” said Blewett. “I want you guys to go downtown. I want you to go to dinner. I want you to spend money safely.”
A press release from the Dallas Police Department said Juveniles found in violation of the curfew will be detained by officers until properly identified, then released to a guardian or transported to the Letot Center.