The Dallas Police Department is starting off the year with more than two dozen cold-case crimes in just one area. The homicide unit is now asking the community for help with something it's never done before.
"We need to get in here, get our hands dirty with this community," said Deputy Dallas Police Chief Tom Castro.
He stood before a house of worship in Southeast Dallas that preaches peace and says what better venue to seek help.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"You have people within this neighborhood that are robbing people, selling dope, shooting people, and those are the people that don't belong here. That's the message that needs to be sent now and loud and clear," Castro said.
Castro has been working hard to work with community leaders to help solve cold cases and spearheaded the idea of bringing department heads out of the office to gain trust.
"We're all about partnerships. We know we can't do anything by ourselves," said Pastor Todd Atkins, at Salem Institutional Baptist Church.
Atkins said he was inspired by the invitation to meet the homicide unit. He says in his community near Fair Park, there's an apathy when it comes to working with law enforcement and addressing criminal activity on their streets.
"People feel as though it's too big to solve, that the problems are just too vast," Atkins said.
Castro is hoping the series of planned community meetings will inspire those that might otherwise be afraid to help. He says it imperative, especially in an area where there are 25 unsolved murders just in the past year.
"We're only as good of an agency or organization as these citizens allow us to be," Castro said. "If we don't have that trust, citizens giving us information to move forward and solve these cases, we're just at a loss," he added.
The meetings are scheduled at various locations, and the public is welcome to attend, as there will be a time set aside for questions and answers. The dates, times and locations are as follows:
- Monday, Jan. 30, at 6 p.m. – Salem Institutional Baptist Church (inside the sanctuary), 3918 Crozier Street.
- Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 6:30 p.m. – Cedar Crest Cathedral, 1616 E. Illinois Avenue.
- Thursday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. – Lake Highlands Recreation Center, 9940 Whiterock Trail.
- Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. – Fretz Park Library, 6994 Beltline Road.