Dallas Police Combat Crime With Neighborhood Block Party

To celebrate the Fourth of July first responders invited an Old East Dallas community out for a block party.

Dallas police and Dallas Fire-Rescue have had to respond to several fires and crimes at J.W. Ray Park during recent Independence Day holidays.

"Fourth of July shouldn't be about, you know, shooting up in the air and fireworks that are illegal. It's really about having a good time as a community," said Dallas Police Association Vice President Anthony Andujar.

That's why this year, they planned a four-hour 4-hour event that included everything from free hot dogs to entertainment for kids of all ages.

"We've played basketball. They have horses, bounce houses out here for the kids," Candice Warren said. Warren said she and her kids just stumbled on the fun, but she agrees with police that it could make a difference.

"The more the police show they're out here, they're involved in the environment, the less violence you'll see going on right around here," Warren said.

Though Thursday's events have been planned for quite a while, its timing was fortuitous after a shooting in Roseland Town Community left two teens dead just one week ago.

"Anybody's scared to come outside. You see, I was stuck in the house with them," said King Clifton. Clifton said when they first heard the party, he and his four kids thought there was more trouble. But, within just a few minutes of coming out, they were wrapped up in a game of tennis with firefighters.

He's not sure whether a single event can improve the security of the neighborhood, but he believes it's a step in the right direction. "This here, it's a start … I love it. I really do," Clifton said.

Dallas police say they hope Thursday's event could eventually serve as a model for other areas of the city.

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