Dallas police chief addresses safety concerns in Oak Lawn

Dallas police believe they may have an idea of who's responsible for five or six robberies and attacks in Oak Lawn in recent weeks.

Dallas PD Chief Renee Hall met with members of the LGBT community on Thursday to talk about safety concerns and what's being done about escalating.

The town hall was organized by DPD before the recent rash of assaults and robberies. People say they're concerned for their safety.

The meeting marked the first time Hall spoke to members of the LGBT community since taking office. She addressed growing concerns over safety in the Oak Lawn neighborhood.

“Identify those areas that challenge that particular community,” Hall said. “Making sure that we have the resources dedicated to that particular area.”

About 50 people attended the LGBT town hall organized by DPD and hosted at the Resource Center.

People like Tricia Brumit who hang out in Oak Lawn are worried about a recent string of unsolved assaults and robberies.

“I think I can blend in a little bit easier, unfortunately or fortunately for me,” Brumit said. “But that doesn't mean that I'm safe and that I'm not constantly looking over my shoulder.”

Deputy Chief Rick Watson oversees the Oak Lawn neighborhood. He says his detectives have narrowed in on a possible suspect.

“We're looking at one particular individual that we believe is responsible for maybe five of the robberies of individuals,” he said.

Chief Watson says it is not the same person who was captured in a photograph along with a woman who yelled homophobic slurs and assaulted two gay men early Sunday morning. Watson says that duo is still unidentified and will be charged with committing a hate crime when they’re caught. For now, he's added additional patrols in the area.

“Hopefully the criminal element that wants to come here and commit an offense won't come,” he said.

For advocates like Lee Daugherty, the meeting with police is a step in the right direction.

“We also know that special attention today will be gone tomorrow,” Daugherty said. “So what we need to do as a community is look for permanent solutions, not just temporary patches.”

Dallas police hope to hold meetings every few months in hopes of keeping the lines of communication open.

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