Oak Lawn sees spike in police volunteer program

Oak Lawn residents, who are fed up with a string of assaults, are teaming up with Dallas Police to take back their neighborhood.

A little-known Dallas Police volunteer program is seeing a spike in enrollment and more people are signing up. Since September of last year, more than a dozen people have been robbed or assaulted in Oak Lawn near Cedar Springs Road.

Fox4 has learned a group of volunteers is literally stopping crooks in their tracks.

By day, John Anderson manages a software company, but by night Anderson turns into a neighborhood watchdog.

He is part of the Dallas Police Volunteer Patrol. Anderson is now trained to cruise the streets of Oak Lawn in search of suspicious activity.

Late last month, Anderson and his patrol partner put that training into action while driving on Throckmorton Street.

“One guy had his shirt up trying to bait other guys to look at him and when a guy walked by and looked at his body they asked 'What are you looking at [expletive],” Anderson said.

He says the three teens then rushed towards the would-be victim with bandanas over their faces. Anderson says he drove towards the group and his partner shined a flashlight at them. The trio took off. Anderson was able to snap this blurry photo of the suspects and give it to police.

“We were really excited we thought this might be a break in some of the other attacks,” Anderson said.

The foiled attacks are a vivid reminder that people who visit Oak Lawn need to be vigilant.

Michael Dominguez was violently beaten back in October while walking home from a bar on Cedar Springs Road. Since then, there have been at least a dozen other attacks.

David Richardson owns a store on the strip. He says people are weary about coming out of night, but that's changing thanks to police and the volunteer patrols.

Anderson tells me there were only six Oak Lawn patrol volunteers as of last September. Now, 21 have finished the training and are working with police.

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