Declining State of NorthPark Center: Public Places Are Not the Problem. A CandysDirt Guest Post

Last week, bogus emails were decrying the declining state of NorthPark Center, where “gangs are proliferating”. One was apparently not so bogus. This email alleged that a gang beat up a Dallas Academy student near NorthPark last week, and also, sadly, that the manager of Macy’s NorthPark store refused to provide help when the bloodied teen’s friends brought him inside the store to clean him up.

Turns out, there was an assault on Jan. 2. According to Dallas police, “20 to 40″ people beat up a 17-year-old boy and two others in a parking lot in the 9100 block of North Central Expressway, near NorthPark Center. The boy is a student at Dallas Academy. NorthPark issued a statement through Androvett Media acknowledging the incident, but said the Macy’s staff DID help the child: “Macy’s staff responded professionally and compassionately in assisting this young man by calling 911 and contacting the Dallas Police Department.” I was out of town during all this, so asked Kersten Rettig to chime in with an excellent point. Rather than charge NorthPark with policing the gangs and threatening boycotts, Kersten asks, where the hell are these kids’ parents? 

The Forward button was on overdrive on keyboards across Dallas last week as concerned parents forwarded an email containing details about a horrific attack against a Dallas teen-aged boy that took place at a shopping center near Northwest Highway and Central Expressway. The email serves as an excellent reminder that, as parents and individuals, we need to be ever vigilant about our surroundings and not take our safety for granted. This email, as well as a flurry of additional emails I’ve received, attacks NorthPark Center management and one of its anchor tenants, Macy’s. The original email states that Macy’s employees refused to help the injured boy and that NorthPark management has refused to allow the media to tell the story. Published responses from NorthPark and Macy’s management refute those claims.

One email I received came from a local Dallas realtor who wrote to NorthPark management suggesting that, if they do not improve security at the shopping center to prevent this kind of criminal activity, the women of the Park Cities who patronize the affluent shopping center will boycott and no longer shop there. In fact, she adds ominously, “greater empires have fallen.”

There’s been a lot of energy devoted to this topic, and not once have I heard or seen anything that recognizes that the problem isn’t public places, it’s the mob of teenagers who assaulted this child. Of course shopping centers and other public places must take reasonable efforts to ensure their guests and employees are safe, but the responsibility ultimately lies with the individual.

This attack could have taken place anywhere. The feeling of powerlessness that incites anger that leads to violence lives inside of people. It’s transient. It goes where they go. Despite the fact that Dallas’ crime rate is at a historical low right now, conditions abound for violent crime to take place; whether at school, a mall, at an 800-square-foot Duncanville apartment or a 6,000 -square-foot Highland Park home.

Maybe the energy spent trying to boycott and cause economic harm to NorthPark Center would be better invested helping at-risk youth and their parents. No one, not NorthPark Center, DISD, DART, not even DPD, can police-away the social ills that cause this kind of behavior.

The problem isn’t public places, it’s private places – it’s in the home. Parents have a duty to instill in children a sense of humanity, self worth, self-discipline, common sense and a basic understanding of right and wrong. If parents are not equipped to do that, then, as a community, we can choose to help them.

Dallas is a great, big city that experiences the same ups and downs that any big city does. NorthPark Center and the surrounding retail and multi-use developments have provided a steady and, in fact, increasing source of value, employment and tax revenue that has benefited the city of Dallas for decades. It’s in our community’s best interest that the area continues to be a safe, successful commercial center of the city.

If this attack upsets you as it has upset so many people in the community, let’s join a productive discussion about ways to stop this behavior rather than slandering the businesses that help Dallas. Let’s honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on what would have been his 83rd birthday week by embracing his mission for non violent social change.

-Kersten Rettig

0 Comment

  • So unlike people to jump to conclusions ! LOL God forbid somebody upsets somebodys perfect little world.

  • So unlike people to jump to conclusions ! LOL God forbid somebody upsets somebodys perfect little world.

  • Food Court = Decline

    (just my opinion, of course!)

  • Food Court = Decline

    (just my opinion, of course!)

  • If kids dont get parented at home, they'll get it somewhere!

  • If kids dont get parented at home, they'll get it somewhere!

  • Very well said Candy. Thank you.

  • Very well said Candy. Thank you.

  • Hate to say it, but wouldn't improving DISD schools and giving greater numbers of kids hope help? But wait, DISD isn't these people's problem…

    • You're absolutely right.

    • How do you know they weren't RISD students? Some witnessed a shooting at an elementary school just up the road and the victim died. If they were non-white we know they were probably not HPISD students…which is probably what this is all about…

  • Hate to say it, but wouldn't improving DISD schools and giving greater numbers of kids hope help? But wait, DISD isn't these people's problem…

    • You're absolutely right.

    • How do you know they weren't RISD students? Some witnessed a shooting at an elementary school just up the road and the victim died. If they were non-white we know they were probably not HPISD students…which is probably what this is all about…

  • From prior media reports this actual assault happened in the parking lot of Sports Authority after 5 PM across Central and not on NorthPark property. The victim then reportedly went to Macy's at NorthPark for assistance. Macy's claims it provided assistance by calling the police. I wish the public would be as concerned about crime around the CVS/Tom Thumb strip center at Meadow and Central which increased after it began selling beer and wine.

    • if the shopping centers don't have sufficient security to monitor the property on it and the people that give their business and trust to them, of course we will all quit shopping there and eating there. The stores I guess must take on the expense as there is no law that will force parents to see over their teenagers. Meadow and central has really become run down; once these places get a reputation, the large majority will not return again. And further opinion: if harried fearful people especially bleeding, flow into a store, that too will run people off.

  • From prior media reports this actual assault happened in the parking lot of Sports Authority after 5 PM across Central and not on NorthPark property. The victim then reportedly went to Macy's at NorthPark for assistance. Macy's claims it provided assistance by calling the police. I wish the public would be as concerned about crime around the CVS/Tom Thumb strip center at Meadow and Central which increased after it began selling beer and wine.

    • if the shopping centers don't have sufficient security to monitor the property on it and the people that give their business and trust to them, of course we will all quit shopping there and eating there. The stores I guess must take on the expense as there is no law that will force parents to see over their teenagers. Meadow and central has really become run down; once these places get a reputation, the large majority will not return again. And further opinion: if harried fearful people especially bleeding, flow into a store, that too will run people off.

  • We're all worried about the future of our country based on the current Republican presidential candidates and the current president. I think we're wasting our worry. Worry about the future of our country and our youth because we're losing a generation. Just yesterday, another video emerged from Chicago showing a group of teens beating another teen behind an elementary school. Horrific. But of course, we wouldn't think about blaming the school for being there (as people tend to blame NorthPark for being there). We know these kids are sick, in trouble, and are on the path to being lifetime criminals and incarcerated. We've got to get our arms around this problem.

  • We're all worried about the future of our country based on the current Republican presidential candidates and the current president. I think we're wasting our worry. Worry about the future of our country and our youth because we're losing a generation. Just yesterday, another video emerged from Chicago showing a group of teens beating another teen behind an elementary school. Horrific. But of course, we wouldn't think about blaming the school for being there (as people tend to blame NorthPark for being there). We know these kids are sick, in trouble, and are on the path to being lifetime criminals and incarcerated. We've got to get our arms around this problem.

  • I am always shocked when people blindly forward (or post on Facebook) articles that they do not bother to confirm. It amazes me that folks take the time to forward but don’t take five minutes to confirm if it is even halfway true. I have noticed that the emails that are forwarded the most are the ones that are not true.

  • I am always shocked when people blindly forward (or post on Facebook) articles that they do not bother to confirm. It amazes me that folks take the time to forward but don’t take five minutes to confirm if it is even halfway true. I have noticed that the emails that are forwarded the most are the ones that are not true.

  • As Wyman said, this assault apparently did not occur anywhere near NorthPark. It's funny that even this article mentions NorthPark approximately 15 times without a single mention of Caruth Plaza.

  • As Wyman said, this assault apparently did not occur anywhere near NorthPark. It's funny that even this article mentions NorthPark approximately 15 times without a single mention of Caruth Plaza.

  • I have heard from many friends that they do not like to go to the movies at Northpark due to the 'gang' type atmosphere. The changes at NorthPark have had an impact on the character of the whole shopping experience and not for the better! I run into Nordstroms, Neimans and Anthropology.

  • I have heard from many friends that they do not like to go to the movies at Northpark due to the 'gang' type atmosphere. The changes at NorthPark have had an impact on the character of the whole shopping experience and not for the better! I run into Nordstroms, Neimans and Anthropology.

  • Couldn't agree more – thank you Candy!

  • Couldn't agree more – thank you Candy!

  • The enjoyable safe haven no more. It's kinda scary. I loved it when the movie theaters were north park #1 and #2 they were not attached to the mall. Also the food court has turned it into Valley View. Not a good thing. Very sad for such a mall of its caliber and standards. Police are everywhere there for a reason.

  • The enjoyable safe haven no more. It's kinda scary. I loved it when the movie theaters were north park #1 and #2 they were not attached to the mall. Also the food court has turned it into Valley View. Not a good thing. Very sad for such a mall of its caliber and standards. Police are everywhere there for a reason.

  • @Britt: I know what you are saying, but the emails referred to "NorthPark" and we consider the entire neighborhood "NorthPark" in general, very general. There was also a shooting at NorthPark not long ago, and a close friend was mugged there years ago. I think we need to have a discussion on shopping centers in general. I'm going to have a new series of posts soon, when time permits, called "My Real Estate Story". One is about two friends who moved to The Tribute to escape the crime in Dallas.

  • mm

    @Britt: I know what you are saying, but the emails referred to "NorthPark" and we consider the entire neighborhood "NorthPark" in general, very general. There was also a shooting at NorthPark not long ago, and a close friend was mugged there years ago. I think we need to have a discussion on shopping centers in general. I'm going to have a new series of posts soon, when time permits, called "My Real Estate Story". One is about two friends who moved to The Tribute to escape the crime in Dallas.

  • ''We’re all worried about the future of our country based on the current Republican presidential candidates and the current president. I think we’re wasting our worry. Worry about the future of our country and our youth because we’re losing a generation. Just yesterday, another video emerged from Chicago showing a group of teens beating another teen behind an elementary school. Horrific. But of course, we wouldn’t think about blaming the school for being there (as people tend to blame NorthPark for being there). We know these kids are sick, in trouble, and are on the path to being lifetime criminals and incarcerated. We’ve got to get our arms around this problem.''

    now this is some passive-racist statement if i've every seen one. based on the current president??? jeez…..

  • ''We’re all worried about the future of our country based on the current Republican presidential candidates and the current president. I think we’re wasting our worry. Worry about the future of our country and our youth because we’re losing a generation. Just yesterday, another video emerged from Chicago showing a group of teens beating another teen behind an elementary school. Horrific. But of course, we wouldn’t think about blaming the school for being there (as people tend to blame NorthPark for being there). We know these kids are sick, in trouble, and are on the path to being lifetime criminals and incarcerated. We’ve got to get our arms around this problem.''

    now this is some passive-racist statement if i've every seen one. based on the current president??? jeez…..

  • @Candy, I didn't mean to pick on you. The forwarded emails all said this happened at NorthPark, implying that there was something the mall owners could have done. But this event could not have even been seen from anywhere on NorthPark property.

    @THE TRUTH, that's crazy to read a racial implication into that. The decay of our youth and society in general is real, but it pre-dates the current President. But a great example: rather than fight/deter robberies, DPD decides to improve its crime stats by not responding to robberies of under $50. Crazy…

  • @Candy, I didn't mean to pick on you. The forwarded emails all said this happened at NorthPark, implying that there was something the mall owners could have done. But this event could not have even been seen from anywhere on NorthPark property.

    @THE TRUTH, that's crazy to read a racial implication into that. The decay of our youth and society in general is real, but it pre-dates the current President. But a great example: rather than fight/deter robberies, DPD decides to improve its crime stats by not responding to robberies of under $50. Crazy…