Two days ago we received an e-mail from a "firstname.lastname@example.org" that insisted, "The gang activity at NorthPark sounds like an escalating problem thats not under control yet and could get worse." The missive also contained a link to this page at something called Park Cities iPhone Reporter (I dunno -- a D offshoot, maybe?) that insisted DPD's stepped up its patrols at NorthPark Center and that it's "no longer a safe place to drop off the kids for a movie or shopping."
Apparently, we weren't the only ones to get the e-mail: During Mayor Tom's adios, Dallas Police Department spokesperson Janice Crowther sent out a missive in response to "multiple inquiries in the last twenty-four hours from the media" that insists "there is no discernible organized gang presence" at NorthPark. Crowther also writes: "Reported crime at the mall is actually down since the first of the year as compared to the same time last year." The entire calm-down-y'all follows.
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Safety at North Park Mall
There have been multiple inquiries in the last twenty-four hours from the media regarding safety at North Park Mall. These inquiries were apparently spurred by an e-mail from a mall patron who noted an increase in young people at the mall and increased police presence as well as from an informal conversation about the situation with off-duty officers there. Please know the following:
North Park officials report an increase in the number of young people at the mall, particularly around the movie theaters. The report we have from patrol and gang unit officers is that there is no discernible organized gang presence there. The Dallas Police Department's gang unit did go to the mall during the week of the Super Bowl as a routine measure. They made one arrest. They then did a follow-up but found no compelling reason to continue monitoring the mall on a regular basis.
Reported crime at the mall is actually down since the first of the year as compared to the same time last year. There have been 14 reported Part 1 crimes (not counting shoplift cases) compared to 21 last year. And the overwhelming majority of the offenses both years involve thefts of or from vehicles in the parking lot. There have been two robberies and one aggravated assault reported in the mall so far this year. While those certainly are a concern, they closely parallel the number and kinds of crime seen in previous years and by no means suggest an up-tick in offenses at the mall.
In late January additional off-duty Dallas officers were hired by the mall in anticipation of an influx of visitors coming to Dallas for the Super Bowl. The mall decided to keep hiring additional officers, particularly on weekend evenings, as a precautionary measure.
It is always a best practice to be vigilant of your surroundings whether it is walking in your neighborhood or shopping at your favorite locations. North Park security and the Dallas Police Department will continue to work to keep the mall a secure and vibrant shopping area where the public can go with confidence of being safe.