Address the Problem

After reading Jim Schutze’s aptly-named article “Forget Why (link),” I thought about writing this piece.

Jim talks about FCE and their efforts to compile research about why the causes and affects of crime and comparing statistics between parts of the city. It is interesting, although a lot of people have said “tell us something we don’t know.” Those folks, however, miss the point. Research and data is useful, but only if we have people that are willing to apply it for the improvement of our society.

Unfortunately, I think this information will come and go and little will be done to change the condition of these neighborhoods. The City must decide to address the following issues, on a wholesale basis.

Hot-Sheet Motels – Something must be done about the dozens of low-rent motels that crowd communities in southern Dallas. These are magnets for prostitutes, johns, and other criminals. No one wants to live, sleep, or play near one of these out of place hellholes.

Apartments – Dallas has hundreds of apartment complexes and 4 to 8-plex buildings that are falling apart. I’ve lived in a couple of them. We can’t wait for market forces to cause their demolition. The electrical and structural problems in these buildings and the fact that they are still allowed to be occupied is nothing short of astounding. Dallas has tons of absentee owners that ignore tenants and refuse to bring buildings up to code. These landlords allow tenants to live in their own personal hell; scared to venture outside because of drug dealers and criminals that saturate parking lots and breezeways, trapped inside due to rodents, roaches, mold, and faulty wiring.

We don’t need any more tax-credit apartment complexes in Dallas. The only way I would remotely consider supporting one is if we were first going to demolish a large complex and put it on the same land.

Slumlords – We must address the slumlords. There are a few slumlords like the Topletzes, GW Works, and a few others that own hundreds of houses in low-income neighborhoods. They take advantage of poor families by renting houses that should have been run over and replaced years ago.

Loitering – There is a problem in South Dallas and Oak Cliff with loitering. People don’t feel safe going in and out of the stores. I’ve been told by various city employees that nothing can be done about loitering. I don’t believe them; we just need someone who is willing to enforce the laws we already have on the books.

Employment – I believe in working with ex-offenders, but I also believe in creating jobs for the average-Joe working man who doesn’t have a criminal record but needs a decent job and a livable wage. There should be some reward for people who refuse to be involved in crime but still can’t find the means to support their family. The Inland Port is great, but it’s not a cure-all as some would lead you to believe

I have many ideas on how these plagues can be fixed, but why waste them now? I get tired of going down to City Hall and speaking on the same issues over and over.

The citizens deserve more.
Lives and futures are at stake.

Is anyone listening?


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