You may notice added security and police patrols around downtown Dallas this summer.
Economic development non-profit Downtown Dallas Inc. is revealing its plan to improve public safety and homeless outreach in the central business district of the city.
The plan, announced Thursday, will use local law enforcement to add security "to proactively address quality of life and public safety challenges as hundreds of thousands of workers and tourists continue to return to downtown," the organization said in a news release.
As part of the plan, the organization will pay off-duty Dallas police to increase patrols downtown during busy hours. Additionally, the group said it will dedicate more staff to reporting code violations to authorities and city officials.
During the summer operation, the organization said Dallas police will increase park checks and enforcement of park rules. Downtown Dallas Inc. also will share information with Dallas police about “hot spots” based on patrols and complaints.
"It is no secret that Dallas and other major cities across the country often anticipate an uptick in crime heading into the warmer summer months. This does not have to be a foregone conclusion," said Albert Sanchez, a former 10-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department who now serves as the organization's vice president of public safety and field operations. "That is why it is so important for us to be proactive and intentional about how we address quality of life concerns."
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Sanchez will lead the operation, which will focus on the area bounded by Interstate 345 on the east, Interstate 30 on the south, North Stemmons Freeway on the west and Woodall Rodgers Freeway on the north.
"Public safety is and always will be our first priority," said Kourtny Garrett, DDI president and CEO. "Downtown has historically been one of the safest areas of our city and we are determined to keep it that way through the good work of our field team members, including Downtown Security, Clean Team, Homeless Outreach, and our new DDI Ambassadors."
The organization offered the following key points of their plan:
- Improved coordination and information sharing with Dallas police, including of DDI “hot spot” locations based on patrols and complaints.
- DDI will fund additional off-duty uniformed Dallas police patrols during peak hours.
- Enhanced communications and marketing promoting the DDI “SEE SAY NOW” app and dispatch number (214-741-1151) for reporting non-emergency quality of life concerns that do not require an immediate police response.
- Increased on-duty Dallas police park checks and enforcement of park rules.
- DDI staff “code walks” to identify and communicate code violations to City of Dallas.
- Addition of Homeless Outreach Team staffing to boost DDI’s successful “relate and refer” strategy of engaging shelter-resistant and mentally ill individuals living downtown.
- Continued activations and events throughout the summer at Downtown parks managed by DDI, including Main Street Garden, Pegasus Plaza, West End Square, and Pacific Plaza.
Dallas Police will play a huge role in this partnership, which Deputy Chief Israel Herrera of DPD Central Patrol said is necessary to help keep the city safe during this unprecedented era.
"No city in this country has ever come out of a pandemic before," he said. "So as we open up, visibility and engagement are so key. We have to make sure that everybody knows we are there for them and that we’re going to be responsive. We’re going learn from this."