By Jennifer Duval, HOA Board Co-President
More than 160 Town Creek, Forest Meadow, and Oak Trail Villas residents packed the Skyview cafeteria October 1st for this year’s National Night Out gathering. The event, which takes place in neighborhoods throughout Texas on the first Tuesday in October, featured compelling speakers, wonderful fellowship, and great food as homeowners learned about public safety in our area.
The featured speaker for the evening was Joeff Williams, the Director for Public Safety for North Texas. He spoke to the controversial plan that brought Texas State Troopers to Dallas to support the beleaguered Dallas Police Department. Troopers making stops became a common sight in Lake Highlands over the summer.
“Don’t believe everything you’ve read,” said Williams. “If you saw in the news that we came [to Dallas] because Gov. Abbott invited us, that’s not right. Your police chief and I came up with this plan together.” To explain the reason the Department of Public Safety (DPS) was brought in to assist city officers, Williams pointed out that in June Dallas reported 40 homicides. Per capita, this was a startling number compared to murder capital Chicago which had 50 in the same month.
In early August, Dallas Council Member Adam Bazaldua along with Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price accused Texas Troopers of racial profiling with regards to their stops in South Dallas. While Williams didn’t directly address the controversy, he did outline the data-driven patrol methods and an unusually high number of warnings that were handed out.
“We were here [patrolling the city] for 12 weeks,” he said. “During that period, we made 17,000 stops and gave 24,000 warnings. We wrote 1,390 tickets, and made 1,100 arrests, 505 of which were felonies.” Williams mentioned that his counterparts in other Texas districts were shocked by the 92 percent warning rate versus tickets. He then reported 77 pursuits, 120 illegal gun confiscations, 54 DWI arrests, and 568 drug seizure events.
“We went after gangs, guns, and drugs,” he said, also mentioning that he often tells his troopers to “go to work, work hard, but hand out more grace than justice.”
Another compelling speaker was Dallas Community Prosecutor Cody Robinson. He provided an update on Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN – see program update story in this issue), the federal crime-fighting program that will continue operating in Lake Highlands until April 2020. The program brings law enforcement and prosecutors together from every level of government to analyze data and determine root causes of crime, and then removing those root causes. While the PSN area has seen a three percent increase in crime since the program began, surrounding areas have seen a much higher spike.
Town Creek’s council member, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough, stopped by briefly with his staff. The district 10 council member was visiting several National Night Out events in Lake Highlands and took the time to show his appreciation for Town Creek’s commitment to public safety.
Susan Morgan of LBJ Now and Diane Tordillo of Pegasus Link Construction provided updates on the LBJ/Skillman construction project that’s currently underway.
Graham Bryant, the Town Creek HOA Board Member who manages the Crime Watch patrols, went through the statistics for the neighborhood so far. Some of the numbers he shared for 2019 through the end of September included:
- 3,240 patrol hours by Crime Watch
- 143 “non-crime” reports (suspicious persons, abandoned cars, dogs off-leash, etc.)
- 40 crime report
Of the 49 suspicious persons reported to the Crime Watch program, 17 were simply asked to leave but 28 had outstanding warrants. Crime Watch officers had 21 abandoned vehicles towed from January through September of 2019.
Other reports from Crime Watch officers included:
- Eight thefts
- 12 vehicle burglaries
- Two stolen vehicles
- Five criminal mischiefs
- One criminal trespass
- One robbery
- One assault
After Bryant, Mark Duval spoke about the neighborhoods’ Volunteers in Patrol (VIP) program. The program, overseen by the Dallas Police Department’s Northeast Patrol Division, puts residents in a marked car for patrols. The program is non-confrontational and requires several hours of training by DPD.
Town Creek board member, Jess Wade worked with businesses in Lake Highlands to provide door prizes for the event, including Alamo Drafthouse movie tickets and Bahama Bucks coupons. One recipient of the Bahama Bucks prize pack donated her prize to Katrina Collins, the principal of Skyview Elementary who attended the event. Collins later shared pictures of her teachers enjoying the slushy treats.
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign. It’s celebrated through events and campaigns by millions of neighbors across thousands of communities. It’s designed to enhance the relationships between neighbors and law enforcement while improving public safety and fostering a sense of community.
Presentation materials from the 2019 Town Creek National Night Out are provided below:
- Video Message from Crime Watch Officer Justin McOskar
- Our Public Safety by the Numbers
- Project Safe Neighborhood Year One Summary
To National Night Out door prize winner:
“Please let the HOA member who shared his Bahama Bucks door prize winnings with me know that I treated my Skyview leadership team, front office staff, custodial staff, and cafe workers to “cool shaved ice” treats today. Much appreciated and fun for all of us!”
─ Katrina Collins, School Principal, Skyview Elementary