Harry Hines business owners meet with Dallas police over prostitution, crime concerns

Harry Hines business owners meet with Dallas police over prostitution, crime concerns

NBC Universal, Inc.

It’s about noon on Harry Hines Boulevard in Northwest Dallas.

A young woman wearing a short dress and sandals is on the phone, pacing back and forth on a busy corner in the 2600 block of Southwell Road.

Another woman strolls down Harry Hines in a G-string. She turns around when she spots NBC 5’s camera.

Business owners say it is blatant and in your face, even for hardened Harry Hines Boulevard with its long history of prostitution.

One shop owner tells NBC 5 that Friday mornings are especially busy.

“Johns” have gotten paid and are cruising for company.

“I would say there are 30 to 50 girls at any time in our district 635 and Northwest Highway,” said Greg McGill, a broker who represents $38 million dollars worth of properties in Northwest Dallas. “Ten years ago, a lot of that was in the Design District.”

Growth in the Design District has simply pushed more prostitution into Northwest Dallas, he said.

“Everything’s gotten crunched up 35 and now it’s here,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s gotten so problematic it’s not a thing in the middle of the night anymore, it’s middle of the day. You’ve got that coupled with really violent homeless people. Petty theft is skyrocketing.”

McGill and other fed-up business owners, a few dozen he says, met with Dallas police in a private meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss ongoing concerns.

The meeting came weeks after a shooting was reported near Parker University on Walnut Hill Lane.

Organizers did not allow media to attend.

McGill welcomed the meeting he says is the first of its kind in several years but says many people left feeling unheard.

“I think [police] just wanted to present: Hey, crime’s down 14%,” he said. “Everyone was in an uproar. You could feel the energy. It’s just not accurate.”

Luis Nuno who owns a business in the area attended the meeting and says a lot of people were ‘pissed.’

“The lack of resources given to our police department from our city elected officials, it’s obvious,” said Nuno.

Both men say the problem is not that police are not doing their job, it’s that more resources are needed.

“They said it, we cannot dedicate more people here because we don’t have enough officers to take care of this situation,” Nuno said.

McGill says DPD should use a different approach when deciding what resources are needed in the area that is largely industrial and home to warehouses.

According to DPD’s online crime map, there have been 93 arrests for solicitation of prostitution so far this year. The majority of arrests occurred in the Northwest Division.

In a statement provided to NBC 5, DPD spokeswoman Kristin Lowman said:

"While violent crime prevention is a priority for the department, so are the concerns of our community about prostitution. Since March, the department has conducted four operations targeting people soliciting prostitution in the Northwest Division. The operations, which resulted in more than 80 arrests, were in response to concerns raised by business owners and community members in the areas most affected by prostitution. These four operations occurred in the Northwest Division, but efforts will continue across our city."

DPD will continue listening to the concerns of our residents, and it will continue to work to combat this problem.

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