Sunday, October 14, 2007

Who does the city really care about?

For the last couple of weeks I have noticed an upsurge of police patrolling in my neighborhood. You would think that is pretty impressive considering the Dallas Police Department is understaffed. The Southeast division (my area) covers 96-square miles and consists of three of the highest crime neighborhoods in the city (why they don't split those up so that police in other areas with less crime could help, I have no idea!). But this month, the city has devoted a very large number of officers to our neighborhood. From the number of police around these days (I believe I saw 5 on my very short, less than 1-mile drive home the other day), you would think that I would feel safer, more protected, and we, as a community, would feel more valued.

Au contraire.

For three weeks in the fall, Fair Park (which is within walking distance from my home) is the home of the State Fair of Texas. Police are everywhere...inside, outside, and around the fair. My uneducated, but probably very accurate guess is that it's the city's attempt to make outsiders feel safe enough to visit and spend their money.

That's where I feel slighted. Yes, there is more protection around here lately, but it's not protection *for* us, it's protection *from* us!

The people I see getting pulled over are not the people going the wrong way on a one-way street (which happens VERY they boldly drive straight at me until I frantically blink my lights or dodge them) or the ones crossing two lanes of traffic, making the locals screech to a halt as the fair-goers have just found an open parking lot.

I would like to see the police statistics of my neighborhood for the three weeks of the fair. I would guess crime has gone down. I've heard the guys talk before. The ones causing the most problems go somewhere else when "the block is hot" and the police are around. I would guess that's the case right now. I would also like to see the statistics for the offenses people have been pulled over for. I would guess it has less to do with the people attending the fair and more to do with minor offenses committed by the people in my neighborhood.

I would like to feel like my neighborhood is safer because the city cares. But the gunshots I've been hearing at night (after the fair shuts down) and the cars and the people pulled over during the day tells me that although the city cares about crime, it cares more about protecting people from my neighborhood than protecting my neighborhood from crime.
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