Dallas Police See Spike in Vehicle Crimes Downtown

Central Dallas vehicle theft crimes increase

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You may assume your vehicle will be safe when you park in a big garage. NBC 5 found that’s not always the case, especially at some big downtown Dallas parking garages.

The 2000 Elm Street Garage is the regular parking spot for Christopher Tracy on his downtown work days. On March 6, he returned to find the driver’s side rear window of his crew cab pickup truck smashed with glass everywhere.

“The entire contents of my console was dumped out all over the floor and on my chair,” Tracy said.

Two other vehicles in the garage were also broken into that day.

“The person who was parked across from me had the same thing happen to their vehicle, and then the person below us, I believe. And so, all of us were calling the police at the same time,” Tracy said.

NBC 5 found 14 police reports from the 2000 Elm garage since Jan. 1, 2023; two of them for vehicles stolen from the garage.

But three other downtown garages had even more police reports.

At 770 Cantegral Street, the Gabriella Apartments address, there were 16 reports, three for stolen vehicles.

At 2320 North Houston Street, Sky House Dallas Apartments had 18 reports, four of them for stolen vehicles. On March 3 alone, there were 10 reports of theft from vehicles. 

One resident who declined to speak on TV confirmed that she was one of the victims and there were many others that day.

The property with the most reports was Eleven Ten at Farmers Market at 1110 S. Cesar Chavez Boulevard. That garage had 19 burglary from motor vehicle reports, 11 of them on Feb. 13 and 7 the day before on Feb. 12.

Tracy said the 2000 Elm Garage refused to accept responsibility.

“Where they’re parking hundreds and hundreds of vehicles, to just say they have no responsibility for anything that happens in there, it doesn’t feel right to me. I think they could step up security patrols. They could have cameras,” he said.

A security guard in a golf cart was seen patrolling the 2000 Elm Garage, but could not be on all levels at the same time. A security camera in an elevator lobby was seen dangling uselessly from a cable.

Tracy said criminals have nothing to fear.

“It could be that they feel they can act with impunity right now, that there's no consequences for their actions,” he said.

Senior Corporal Brian Martinez, a Dallas Police spokesman, said officers are working diligently to catch suspects and stop vehicle crimes.

“We have collaborative efforts with all of our units, auto theft working with coverts. We have technology teams working with those Flock cameras,” Martinez said.

Flock cameras move to various locations to watch for license plates of stolen or suspect vehicles.

Martinez said drivers and garages can help prevent vehicle crimes.

“We don't want to give these suspects any reason to commit this type of crime,” he said.

Drivers should be sure not to leave valuable items in sight and always lock vehicles.

Garages can improve lighting, gates and cameras.

“We have several NPO meetings, neighborhood police officer meetings, where those officers inform the community of what they can do better to reduce the amount of auto thefts or burglary of motor vehicles,” Martinez said.

Records as of Thursday, March 16, show theft from vehicles down 7% city-wide so far this year but up 3% in the central patrol area that includes downtown.

Vehicle theft, called Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle in police reports, is up 5% city-wide and up 18% in the central area.

So far this year, records show overall crime citywide is down 3.74%. Other exceptions include murder, up 34% with 15 more killings so far this year compared with last.

Reducing violent crime is the top priority for Dallas Police, but Martinez said the increase in vehicle theft is also a concern.

Police officers did respond in person to Tracy’s call.

“And they said they arrived very quickly because they received so many calls at the same time from the same location,” he said.

Tracy said he has also received a follow-up call from a detective.

He’s pleased that his was not one of the stolen vehicles, but the damage did cost him hundreds of dollars which is below the amount of his insurance deductible.

Calls to the 2000 Elm garage and other properties seeking comment were not returned.

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