A growing number of car break-ins and burglaries in Old East Dallas this year has new homeowners on edge and police scrambling to find a way to stop the criminals in their tracks.
Police say they're aware of the recent uptick in property crimes and are working around-the-clock to put a stop to it.
There have been more than two dozen property crimes in the last three months in the new apartments and townhomes near Haskell and Ross avenues in Old East Dallas.
Most of those crimes are break-ins into locked cars where crooks smash car windows.
Neighbors say the crime problem is getting worse.
Dallas police reports from the last 10 days reveal there have been about 10 car break-ins, an armed robbery and a homeowner's car was hot-wired and stolen from behind a locked fence.
The vehicle was recovered nearby the next day, residents say.
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Homeowners are frustrated and police say they're pouring resources into the area to drive away the criminals.
Toni Najjar has a growing stack of police reports in her glove compartment.
Her locked-car was broken into a few weeks ago. It has happened to her three times in the last two months.
"I want to see more police patrols. I want to see more police. I want to see their presence," Najjar said. "And we're only seeing them out here during the day, not at night. They’re never doing it at night."
Najjar's called her local police division office and requested extra patrols for her neighborhood. She says officers do swing by her neighborhood more often when she asks, but they also have to respond to other 911 calls in other parts of town.
"When we call, police will be out here more often for a couple days at a time, then they stop it. It's very frustrating," she said.
"It doesn’t seem like [extra patrolling] has been on a consistent basis. But the break-ins have been on a consistent basis. And that’s what’s frustrating," agreed Rachel Sipperley, another townhome owner whose car was broken into this year.
Najjar lives in a community off Ross Boulevard. Rows of brand new apartment complexes and townhomes line the streets and new townhomes are still under construction.
But other nearby streets are underdeveloped are full of blight.
"This is kind of an up and coming neighborhood," Sipperley said. "Obviously there is some riff-raff in the blocks outside." "It's frustrating to be living here and paying taxes here and not have a safe place to come home to."
Police commanders say they're aware of the crime up-tick and are telling patrol officers to check the area more often.
They've also had some success with leaving a marked, decoy squad car in the area--but that's a tactic they can only deploy for a few days at a time, otherwise, crooks get wise to it.
Still, it's a tactic Dallas police say they'll likely use again in the area as a way to combat crime.
"They're trying to clean this neighborhood up and make it better, but that won't happen if residents here keep getting broken into," Sipperley said.
Neighbors now want the city to step in to help ease the police burden.
They want new street lights put up, and security cameras installed.
They've asked for a meeting with City Councilman Adam Medrano next week to discuss a crime prevention plan.
And several residents want to work with police to create an Old East Dallas community crime watch.
Meanwhile, central division police commanders say they're keeping an eye on the area and will maintain an increased presence when they can.