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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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Opinion: Deep Ellum is Deep in Crime

Opinion

Deep Ellum | Image by ExperienceFirst

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Deep Ellum residents and business owners are justifiably concerned about their safety these days. Crime is spiking. Every day more homeless take up residence on their streets, haggling and harassing patrons and passers-by. It’s increasingly bleak as the community many have known and loved for years is undergoing a radical, and scary, transformation.

In September, at the 2800 Block of Elm Street a shooting occurred that killed a teenager and left three others injured. As bars and clubs let out around 2am bystanders waiting for food from one of the familiar pop-ups in the neighborhood were hit by crossfire between three different shooters. Three. In April at the same location, two more victims were shot and hospitalized with serious injuries.


Most recently on May 13th, a gun fight broke out in the streets of Deep Ellum, leaving two men dead and another two innocent bystanders severely injured. Not surprisingly this occurred once again at the 2800 Block of Elm Street early in the morning as the night scene closed down. What began as an altercation soon ended in gun fire.

When crime spikes like this occur, they have a huge negative impact on businesses. Doug Davis, owner of Murray Street Coffee Shop since 2005, has stated, “On a personal level, as someone who has haunted Deep Ellum since the 80s and seen crime wax and wane, I’m deeply disturbed.” Dunagin Gaines, Director of Operations at Uncle Uber’s Sammich Shop, said he and other Deep Ellum restaurant operators have talked about moving their businesses elsewhere, as the recent crime trends have forced them to hire profession security for high traffic nights.

The calculus is simple and brutal: as crime has increased, and public safety has deteriorated, businesses like these have been forced to decide between moving shop or coughing up the money for increased security. Either way, Deep Ellum as a community loses and so do these business owners.

As the violence raged on, Police Chief Eddie García stood up and vowed to “take Deep Ellum back,” saying “we’re not going to tolerate it.” He suggested that there be an increased police presence until law enforcement and Deep Ellum community leaders could come up with a “more holistic plan.”

Executive Assistant Chief Albert Martinez concurred, suggesting that we add at least 10 additional officers to patrol the area in hopes that with higher police visibility, residents may feel safer and criminal behavior might be deterred.

The residents of Deep Ellum have been promised a plan to address their grievances, but they don’t see it. They’ve only seen the horrible pattern of violent crime that has rocked their neighborhood continue, a pattern that could likely lead to devastating consequences for the entire area.

While it’s great that the police department has vowed to take a stand, they cannot solve this issue without support from city leaders, especially from Councilman Jesse Moreno of District 2. Given that Deep Ellum is in his district, and he is a leading member on the public safety committee, his actions moving forward will have a massive impact on the area’s future.

Deep Ellum is clearly at a tipping point, and now, it falls on him to take initiative. He claims that he wishes to lead with “transparency and accountability” so I challenge him to uphold these standards and do everything possible to provide the security his constituents deserve.

If you agree, you should consider giving him a call and telling him yourself. I know I will.     

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RobinQuivers
RobinQuivers
3 months ago

It used to be such a cool bohemian divey kind of place, but now it’s more of a Miami and hip hop type of crowd. Not safe.

RJ
RJ
3 months ago

I’ve known people whose homes and cars have been broken into but the police won’t come do an investigation because there aren’t enough resources, yet I’ve been at parks where police come in squads to ticket people who have dogs off their leash. Yes, both are breaking the law, but clearly we’ve got our priorities wrong.