NW Crime Alert
Lock Take Hide
11/17/03 Every little bit helps, and
every new idea.
Some people pooh-pooh the city's grocery
cart ordinance, and they are so wrong.
We didn't get to leading the nation in crime over night. It
was a little loss here, a little slack there and pretty soon the thugs ruled our
When was the first time you saw a street person pushing a shopping cart?
Did it cross your mind the
cart was stolen from some store? Well, it was stolen because grocery stores don't
give away their carts and they don't sell them. You know what else they
don't do -- not much to keep them from being stolen and even less to collect them.
When I lived in Oak Lawn, I would call grocery stores with locations of
abandoned carts. The person would take my information and thank me
profusely, but a week later those carts were still out there cluttering
the neighborhood and waiting for someone else to start using them as their mobile
In your neighborhood, shopping carts may not be a problem. In my current
neighborhood, I don't see shopping carts or street people as often as I did in
Oak Lawn. Up here, we have different problems -- not any less important or
more important -- just different.
I agree with everything you say about
carts from stores.
the stores control the cart situation by having a
stand in the middle of the parking lot where a police officer observes what
goes on around the property where the store is located. It looks like an
observation post and gives the customers a sense of protection.
protects the store and the customers. Perhaps we could start something like
that here in Dallas. Just an idea.
The people supporting the ordinance are not
concerned with shopping carts. It's the stuff street people
collect in those carts and how they use those carts to climb over fences and
other obstacles to take stuff that belongs to someone else, which they then haul off
in their shopping cart.
When the council debated the ordinance for what seemed like 10 hours, Steve
Salazar made a very solid point that no one else seemed to hear. He
mentioned the value of the carts ($125+) took them out of the class being
discussed. The DPD spokesman said they were not so much interested in
arresting the cart
people, but the ordinance would give them a reason to stop someone pushing a
cart full of contraband.
Steve Salazar is correct:
"2) a Class B misdemeanor if:
(A) the value of the property stolen is:
(i) $50 or more but less than $500; or..."
Not one council member even commented. They went merrily on expressing
concerns about little old grandmothers who were taking their groceries home
being arrested. It just went on and on, and the only legitimate point
raised was that by Salazar. It would have made no difference to wait a
couple of weeks and get it right.
Why not arrest the cart thieves and make it unpleasant
for them to be in Dallas? Well, because the
Dallas Managed News
Our Downtown Betters (the ODB) are afraid we might get some bad press
picking on street bums. Word of mouth comments from visitors to Dallas
about our dangerous street life is getting around.
I am sick of this politically correct stuff that makes it a bad thing to
speak openly and honestly.
The term "homeless" is such a stretch for the reality of our street bums
problem. These are not people "down on their luck" who can turn their
lives around if we spend enough money and hold their hands. They are
either mentally ill and belong in an institution. Or, they are brain
dead from drug or alcohol abuse. Or, they are just worthless bums who
have never tried to be responsible human beings.
If they can't behave like civilized adults, put them in jail. Maybe
they will decide Downtown Dallas is not the most fun place for them to do
drugs, steal anything in sight, defecate, throw-up or panhandle.
Re: DMN reporting on Greenville Ave. robberies
The Dallas Morning News must also take responsibility
for these crimes, as the DMN DOES NOT put even a
partial description in of suspects when it is available to them.
As has been stated before, ANY description of a suspect will at
least put the public on a higher alert and possible help in the apprehension
of the criminals.
But the DMN, in its effort not to
"offend" people, has decided to make race an issue and not print the race of
a still on -the-loose suspect unless the DMN "feels" it can help.
Once again, ANY
description is better than nothing as you would agree to if it was you or
someone you knew who was a victim.
Back to stolen shopping carts,
Salazar asked why the city was letting the grocery stores off so easy. He
said they do little to keep their carts from being stolen and refuse to testify or
prosecute when carts are found in the possession of someone other than store
patrons or personnel. He said the ordinance was making the city do work
for the stores, and they should be sharing the cost.
Our Mayor and others are trying to follow Rudi Guilliani's pattern, but they are
too timid to be successful. He just went in and did what had to be done
and didn't care who liked it or whether he was viewed as politically correct.
Until Mayor Miller stops wanting everyone to like her, none of her ideas will be
successful. She sure doesn't care if her old allies approve or disapprove
of her strategies, but she seems to be obsessed with winning over South Dallas.
That's not going to happen.
I love the shopping cart ordinance because every little bit helps, but that doesn't mean
the stores can't do their part, too. The Kroger on Cedar
Springs had those kind of carts where the wheels lock if they are pushed past sensor
posts at the exits and entrances. I don't know how well the system worked,
but at least they were doing something.
Councilman Salazar is right about holding the stores accountable for the expense
of solving problems caused by their negligence and business decisions, and the council should have listened to
The council never listens to Mitch Rasansky either when he offers new important
information on an issue before they vote. Many times
the council could have saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not
millions, had they attention to what Councilman Rasansky had to say about a
particular contract or lease. Last Wednesday, they should have listened to
What's the point of having council meetings or discussions or hearings if the
vote is a foregone conclusion, and the council ignores legitimate points?
A couple of months ago, Lois Finkelman and Veletta Lill claimed they
changed their minds about voting for Al Lipscomb to the Police Review Board
after they heard testimony from all those Bolton supporters. Baloney! They were
never voting against Al Lipscomb, no matter what they promised their constituents.
Both have dreams of a mayor's race and saw it as a way to endear
themselves to South Dallas. But that's another rabbit trail.
The shopping cart ordinance is a little step, but let's do it smart.
We should not just fine the street bums for possessing stolen property; we
should arrest them and charge the store owning the cart the cost of arresting
and jailing the cart thief, as well as the cost of returning the cart to the
store. The new ordinance requires
stores to label their carts, but it does not require the stores to assist in
prosecution of the theft of those carts, and it should.
If you don't think stopping crime one step at a time is a big deal
and you don't get the problem with shopping carts, you probably don't care
whether the stores press charges against cart thieves or not. You should.
You may not understand why anyone would live in an area where people push around
shopping carts or leave them in alleys or use them for various nefarious
activities. Thousands of upscale to well-to-do to very rich people
live in the Oak Lawn, Uptown or Turtle Creek area. They live with
abandoned shopping carts in their alleys and in front of their homes -- homes in
the $800,000 to multi-million dollar range.
They live with other things going on in their alleys.
A Dallas neighborhood fights crime using placards
BY MARK DONALD
dallasobserver.com | originally published:
November 13, 2003
a crime fighter, Peter Fleet seems on the smallish side, his slight
appearance lacking a command presence, his reedy voice a bit nervous around
the edges. But two weeks ago, after his car was burglarized for the third
time in three months, after the neighbors in his condominium complex
suffered at least 20 similar smash-and-grab incidents, after the police
seemed unable to meaningfully beef up enforcement, after the addicts and the
prostitutes and the dealers acted more at home in his Oak Lawn neighborhood
than he did, he decided to fight back with the only weapon he had at his
disposal: the First Amendment.
. . . Fleet points to a tattered cloth that
is strewn across an electrical wire high above the street. "You see that,"
Fleet says. "That's a symbol for drug users that crack is sold here." By
"here," Fleet means the alley that runs behind his apartment on Dickason
Avenue between Wycliff and Douglas. "It's known as Crack Alley," he says,
offering a guided tour to anyone who doubts his resolve.
Fleet's methods might be a bit
unconventional, but they bring into sharp focus the mounting frustration
some residents feel as they daily confront the crime wave that has put
Dallas in the reprehensible position of being the crime capital among the
nation's big cities. It may also be a measure of the outrage some feel at
what they perceive is the tepid response of police and politicos, who in a
news conference last Wednesday outlined their opening salvo in a new local
war on crime. These include a renewed crackdown on panhandling, a proposed
ordinance making it illegal to possess a shopping cart away from the
business property of its owner and "Lock, Take, Hide" signs, which will
remind people to lock their vehicles and keep their property out of open
view. . . .
"That just drives me crazy," Fleet adds. "The city is
worried about shopping carts and panhandlers when there are drug dealers and
prostitutes breaking into houses and cars." . . .
Mr. Fleet has his priorities. He sees a significance in a tattered cloth
on a high wire that would not have meant anything to me before this article.
There is a connection between shopping carts and his car break-ins. A
tattered cloth, a stolen shopping cart may be little points, but they become
major issues when your car window is smashed and some thief is hauling off your
stuff in a shopping cart, along with neighbor's stuff so he can go back
and buy drugs in your alley.
We need more police officers. We need more pay for officers we already
have on the force. Steve Salazar had a very legitimate proposal that would
very likely generate some serious revenue, at least initially. That
revenue could be directed toward a fund for hiring new officers. After the
stores got enough fines for not controlling their shopping carts, they would
figure out a way to keep those carts on their property.
See, a little step can lead to big changes. Little demonstrations like
what Mr. Fleet and his neighbors are doing can lead to big changes.
Stopping someone hauling stolen car stereos in their stolen shopping cart might
turn up the crack heads who are plaguing Mr. Fleet's neighborhood.
It's important to keep thinking of new ideas for fighting crime. When
Councilman Salazar made his comments regarding the shopping cart ordinance, his
colleagues should have paid attention. If they were unwilling to amend the
ordinance to include his suggestions, they should have tabled the
ordinance until the City Attorney could review the possibility of levying fines
against stores for not controlling their carts.
You can be fined for leaving your keys in your car. That ought to work for
stores who do not control their shopping carts.
We can't do everything at once, but we should do as much as we can with each new
step we take and not worry about bad press or being politically correct.