DALLAS, Texas - Security around this year’s Dallas Gay Pride parade has been stepped up in wake of last year’s wave of attacks on the LGBT community.
To date, there have been 18 reported beatings and robberies and nearly a dozen more unreported. So far, police say no arrests have been made.
The gay pride parade and celebration in 2015 was especially jubilant for the LGBT community with the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality allowing same-sex marriage across the country. But later that night, a string of violent attacks began in the heart of the Oak Lawn neighborhood.
Jarret Duke was one of the victims.
"I just remember waking up covered in blood,” he said.
The outrage after the attacks inspired a documentary called “Take Back Oak Lawn.” It was named after the movement that came together to help restore the confidence in the community by improving safety, encouraging vigilance and striving for safety and equality for all its citizens.
Lee Daugherty was one of seven organizers of Take Back Oak Lawn. Two of his workers at Alexandre's Bar were victims of the attacks.
"This is a community that fights back,” he explained. “This is not a community that goes away in fear."
Daugherty says despite no arrests, much has been done to combat crime and bring an ever-changing diverse community closer together in just the last 12 months.
"We just did a major round of tree trimming around here to expose better lighting,” he said. “We've identified areas where we need more lighting, and we're putting in work orders for that. We've gotten businesses to install exterior cameras facing the street to possibly help to prosecute and document."
Dallas police have stepped up their patrols in the area and added ten crime watch cameras in the neighborhood.
The community has also created volunteer security watch patrols.
"There's going to be basically some entrances along Cedar Springs that will identify the neighborhood and give it a sense of place and a sense of purpose so that when you come down here, you know where you are,” explained Rafael McDonneli with the Dallas Resource Center.
For the first time ever, there will be metal detectors at the entrance of the celebration. No backpacks or purses will be allowed unless they are in clear plastic bags.
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