Dallas police see spike in downtown car crimes

You can assume that your car will be safe when you park in a large garage. NBC 5 has found that this is not always the case, especially at some of the big garages in downtown Dallas.

The 2000 Elm Street Garage is Christopher Tracy’s usual weekday parking spot downtown. On March 6, he returned to find the driver’s side rear window of his double-cab pickup truck smashed all over.

“All the contents of my console were dumped on the floor and on my chair,” Tracey said.

On the same day, two more cars in the garage were broken into.

“The person who was parked in front of me had the same thing happen to his car, and then, I think, the person below us. So we all called the police at the same time,” Tracy said.

NBC 5 found 14 police reports from a 2000 Elm garage since January 1, 2023; two of them for cars stolen from a garage.

But three other garages in the center had even more police reports.

770 Cantegral Street, Gabriella Apartments, received 16 complaints, three of which were for stolen vehicles.

At 2320 North Houston Street, Sky House Dallas Apartments received 18 reports, four of which involved stolen vehicles. On March 3 alone, 10 reports of theft from vehicles were received.

One resident who refused to speak on television confirmed that she was one of the victims, and there were many others that day.

The most reported property was Eleven Ten at Farmers Market at 1110 S. Cesar Chavez Boulevard. This garage had 19 burglaries from car records, 11 of them on February 13th and 7 the day before, February 12th..

Tracy said the 2000 Elm Garage refused to take responsibility.

“Where they park hundreds and hundreds of cars, just saying that they are not responsible for everything that happens there seems wrong to me. I think they could beef up security patrols. They may have cameras,” he said.

A security guard on a golf cart was seen patrolling the Elm Garage 2000, but could not be on all levels at the same time. A security camera in the elevator lobby was seen hanging uselessly from a cable.

Tracy said that criminals have nothing to fear.

“Perhaps they feel that they can act with impunity right now, that there will be no consequences for their actions,” he said.

Master Corporal Brian Martinez, a Dallas police spokesman, said officers are working hard to catch suspects and stop vehicle crimes.

“We have a collaborative effort with all of our divisions working with undercover car theft agents. We have technical teams working on these Flock cameras,” Martinez said.

Flock cameras move to different locations to track the license plates of stolen or suspicious vehicles.

Martinez said drivers and garages can help prevent vehicle-related crime.

“We don’t want to give these suspects any reason to commit this kind of crime,” he said.

Drivers must not leave valuables in plain sight and lock their vehicles at all times.

In garages, lighting, gates and cameras can be improved.

“We have several NGO meetings, local police meetings where these officers inform the community about what they can do better to reduce the number of carjackings or car burglaries,” Martinez said.

Records as of Thursday, March 16 show that theft from vehicles is down 7% citywide this year, but up 3% in the central patrol area, including downtown.

Vehicle theft, referred to as unauthorized vehicle use in police reports, increased 5% citywide and 18% in the downtown area.

This year, reports show that overall crime in the city has dropped by 3.74%. Other exceptions include homicides, which are up 34% more, with 15 more homicides this year than last year.

Reducing violent crime is a top priority for the Dallas police, but Martinez said the increase in car thefts is also a concern.

The police personally responded to Tracy’s call.

“And they said they arrived very quickly because they were getting calls from the same place at the same time,” he said.

Tracy said he also had a call from the detective.

He’s pleased that he wasn’t among the stolen cars, but the damage did cost him hundreds of dollars, less than his insurance deductible.

Calls to the Elm 2000 garage and other facilities asking for comment went unanswered.

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