The vagrancy problem in Irving’s Heritage District has experienced a “severe reduction,” according to local shopkeepers.

While not all of the park’s homeless people are gone, most are, said Melody McCallum, a hairdresser who works near the park. Although several homeless individuals showed up while The Dallas Express spoke to McCallum, she described the last few weeks as “very quiet.”

DX asked how she felt about the reduction in violence, theft, and vandalism.

“Calm and peaceful,” she replied.

This was in stark contrast to the mayhem that was reaching a fever pitch in the park when DX last covered the issue in early June. At the time, a DX investigation revealed numerous reports of vagrants fighting, breaking shop windows, stealing mail, defecating in doorways, screaming at women, doing drugs in public, and attempting to assault people on their walks to work.

By coincidence, each shopkeeper DX talked to was a woman. However, each one gave a quote indicating that, as women, they were afraid to work alone. In many cases, they depended on their husbands to take them to and from work to feel some degree of safety.

DX‘s coverage coincided with a city council election. District 4 candidates Luis Canosa and Susan Motley both made homelessness a focal point of their campaigns.

Canosa opposed building a homeless shelter with federal taxpayer money, while Motley appeared to support it. Because of Irving City Council’s breakdown at that time, the election of either candidate would have significantly impacted the coalition of council members opposing or supporting the shelter.

In a runoff election, 24-year-old Canosa won in a historic landslide. He received 56% of the vote versus Motley’s 44%. He received 1,406 votes, which outnumbered those that were cast in the joint runoff for a previous city council race in 2010 and any city council run in District 4 in roughly the last decade, according to Ballotpedia.

DX spoke to Canosa about the fate of the homeless shelter, shortly after his election.

“That [won’t be] a concern for South Irving residents anymore,” he said.

The Heritage District shopkeepers universally told DX that the homeless problem began around 2015 and had worsened exponentially since the COVID-19 lockdowns. Each had said they had repeatedly reported criminal behavior to police without any action on the part of the Irving Police Department.

DX witnessed this firsthand when a man placing suspicious packages in the park was not stopped or questioned by police.

This all changed after the June 15 election, McCallum said.

“There has been a huge slowdown in [homeless] activity here,” McCallum told DX just a few days later.

McCallum attributes the reduction to DX‘s reporting.

DX contacted Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer’s office and the Irving Police Department to find out what was causing the sudden reduction in the homeless population. Neither responded to requests for comment.