More than 80 neighborhoods across Dallas pay for off-duty police patrols in a bid to keep their respective crime rates down. As proposed changes to that system have been leaked and the rumor mill activated, 80 neighborhoods are now feeling some angst about the fate of the popular — and effective — program.
ENP is short for Expanded Neighborhood Patrol, a citizen-paid police patrol system utilizing DPD officers that has worked to lower crime in many North Dallas neighborhoods since 1991, when the Dallas City Council first established the program.
There are more than 80 across Dallas, from Midway Hollow to a nascent patrol in Lower Greenville, Oak Cliff to Preston Trails. More ENPs are developing to combat crime and guarantee rapid response times given the current slow response DPD response rates. The ENPs are paid and administered by private citizens through homeowner associations.
In fact, even newly-elected mayor Eric Johnson enjoys an ENP in Forest Hills. Full disclosure: my husband started the first ENP in Preston Hollow, the Preston Hollow North Patrol, in 1991, and I am a past board member of our Northlake/Hillcrest Estates patrol. For many reasons, I have great respect for and strongly support the private neighborhood patrols.
The private neighborhood patrols also enhance property values, especially during periods of high Dallas crime. And they indisputably help lower crime, as this Dallas Morning News story from 2015 attests:
In North Oak Cliff, crime is down by about 60 percent across several neighborhoods that have paid for off-duty officers to patrol since 2007, said Russ Aikman, president of the North Oak Cliff United Police Patrol.
“It works because they are proactive rather than reactive,” Aikman said. On-duty officers, he said, are “typically so busy responding to one 911 call after another that they don’t have a whole lot of time just to be driving around looking for suspicious characters, suspicious vehicles.”
That effectiveness is why ENPs make a home and its neighborhood more attractive to buyers.