A new Dallas Task Force directed at apartment crime was announced this week by Dallas City Councilman Casey Thomas, who is also Mayor Pro-Tem.
Thomas said the task force will be an internal city working group comprised of police, code enforcement and people from the City Attorney's Office.
"We have some good property owners. What we want to do is address the issues with those who have not been as good," Thomas said. "We want to make sure that the people who are living around the apartments are not impacted as much with some of the things that are happening within the apartments."
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As an example of what has been a problem complex in his Southwest Dallas District over the years, Thomas mentioned "The Muse" on West Pentagon Parkway near Westmoreland Road and Kiest Boulevard.
Thomas said new owners of the apartment community have invested millions of dollars in upgrades but he wants to be sure the new management keeps bad tenants out of the complex.
Three different tenants at the complex who declined television interviews said there has been an improvement in conditions at The Muse. A fourth tenant who also declined to appear on television said serious code infractions have not been promptly repaired.
A manager in the complex office said there has been tremendous improvement at the property but she declined an interview and directed NBC 5 to a regional ownership manager who did not return a message.
Joaquin Garcia, a neighbor in the single family home community adjacent to The Muse, praised the new effort from Thomas.
"I don't mind the apartments as long as they are safe and kept up and are redone," Garcia said. "Make sure that it is a safe place for everybody."
Thomas said the task force would focus initially on properties in his City Council District, but eventually expand to a city wide effort.
Dallas police already have rules that complexes are expected to follow for safety, including things like lighting and security people on site. Thomas said the new task force will go beyond past efforts to win compliance from landlords.
"We want to see how the city can work together in partnership and not be as much of an adversarial relationship," Thomas said.
The recent assault on a Transgender woman occurred this month in another Southern Dallas complex with a troubled past outside his district. Thomas said his task force plan was in the works before that crime and is directed at many properties.
The announcement from Thomas comes less than three weeks before the May 4 election in which he faces four challengers. Thomas said the apartment task force is typical of the kind of work he's done as a City Councilman since 2015, not just an election scheme.
"I'm hoping my work will speak for me," Thomas said.