Tarrant

Photo courtesy Tarrant County

Longtime Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Jacquelyn Wright has had her fair share of controversy in the 28 years she’s served in that position.

But that controversy may be outpaced by Wednesday’s news that a grand jury indicted Wright, 77, on four felony charges related to homestead exemptions she claimed.

It is alleged that she falsely claimed the exemptions on homes she did not live in to avoid paying property taxes on a home on Ivy Hill Road in Fort Worth, the indictment said. Her claims spanned from 2010 to 2018, when she falsely applied for and received a homestead exemption in 2015, 2016, and 2018 for the Ivy Hill Road home. (more…)

If you live in North Dallas, you have probably been to the “new” Costco on Churchill Road, the one built on vacant land edging LBJ, Coit Road, and North Central Expressway. The one built with $3 million of our taxpayer dollars.  I was there Saturday afternoon, in fact, and ran into many friends.

On Sunday afternoon,  robbers armed with a gun and pickaxe shattered the jewelry cases (which are towards the front of the store) and stole jewelry. The three men apparently forced their way into the warehouse club store at about 3 p.m. Sunday, got the jewelry, terrorized shoppers, then fled in a car, likely onto North Central Expressway or LBJ.

Great for a Costco (and us), to be so near those thoroughfares. Even better for crooks.

In talking and reading about this experience, which was absolutely terrorizing for the people inside shopping as well as employees, I am wondering about Costco’s “15-second door delay.” Is that to deter shoplifting? Apparently, when gunshots were fired, people fled the store. But some at the front door main entrance couldn’t get out for 15 seconds. 15 seconds is not a lot of time, but when a robber has a gun, it is an ETERNITY.

Others were hiding in bathrooms or getting out backdoors. At the time of the robbery Adam Vanek, National General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretaryfor the Susan G. Komen Foundation, was shopping with his wife and two of their four children — one 3 years, one 17 months.  (more…)

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After someone sent me a story about the mindset behind a certain email circulating regarding Highland Park ISD’s bond election, you know what stuck out to me?

Besides the fact that it felt like a prop from recent HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero,” which unspooled the whole mess Yonkers, N.Y., found itself in regarding affordable housing, the other thing was this: There was absolutely no attempt to show any work regarding assertions. No aspersions cast on the writer of the story — he’s just quoting a guy. My beef is with the lack of solid bonafides behind the claims.  I used to have this editor that got all kinds of twitchy and irritable when (even in an op-ed) you didn’t at least attempt to give some sourcing for your assertions. “SHOW YOUR WORK,” he’d bellow.

So instead of picking apart the arguments in that email (and the quotes in that story) based on my ideological differences with the claims, I decided to approach things with an open mind and actually look at real studies done on affordable housing and crime. I mean, what if the guy was right? Or, what if he was quite wrong? Don’t you think it deserves a little look-see, at least, to see what we can find from reputable sources?

The area highlighted in red roughly shows where Highland Park ISD serves Dallas addresses.

The area highlighted in red roughly shows where Highland Park ISD serves Dallas addresses.

First off, let’s unpack where this particular brand of NIMBY likely came from. If I had to guess, it probably dates as far back as the 1930s, when the presence of low-income families meant the difference between no ability to get a home loan (areas that had predominantly black families and low-income families were redlined), or even as much of a difference as 80 percent financed/20 percent down (for an area with no low-income families and solely white) or 15 percent financed and 85 percent down (in an area where there was a racial mix and a lot of low-income families). The appearance of low-income or non-white ethnicities in your neighborhood during this time was a harbinger of plummeting property values and hardship.

But what about now? Is that true?

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Munger Place Burglar

It was so cool to see my old neighborhood in the news, and for a good reason.

Neighbors on Reiger Avenue had been plagued by teenage burglars and vandals breaking into their cars and relieving them of their property, but one thief was caught in broad daylight by a bunch of fed-up Munger Place residents.

This is all just after the annual Munger Place Days festival, a three-day home tour and bazaar that highlights the cool historic district’s inherent charm. These are the people that wave from their front porches as you walk your dog, so when they banded together to take down a criminal, the results were spectacular.

Way to go, Munger Place!

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I came across a terrific post this morning by the wise and vigilant Lydia Player and thought I would share in the hopes that it may save someone, anyone from being a victim of crime.

Though I am super cheap and an attorney, even I used a Realtor to sell our condo because I knew there was a lot I do not know and needed an expert to handle. Having an open house and inviting a criminal into my home did not even occur to me.

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the_colony_arielI’ve been know to make jokes about what Highland Park police do all day. It’s always in jest, as they were very quick to respond when I saw a dog left of on hot tar concrete and its paws were so hot it was shifting weight every two seconds. (Yes, that happened in Snider Plaza). The humor is basically a testament to the area’s super low crime rate and high quality of life.

But this morning I got quite a shock reading that the usually squeaky clean The Colony (known 4 times as “Playful City USA” for child play options by the Humana Foundation and Money Magazine’s #20 in “Best Places to Live”) had quite a bust of its own. As reported by the Dallas Observer and the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, it appears the ILLEGAL SEX RAID was conducted over months by The Colony Police Department, the Denton County Sheriff’s Office, and the US Department of Homeland Security. The family-friendly suburb’s idyllic veneer was cracked this week when 14 johns, 7 escorts, 2 underage escorts, and 3 drug-related charges were arrested last week at a seedy hotel there.

“Of the johns, eight had entered the country illegally. Two to four more arrests of associated pimps are expected in the next few days.”

Shocking for a town of around 40,000 where the 2013 estimated Average Household Income is $89,673, 42% of the population is college-educated (24% bachelor or graduate degree), and for 2014, the average home sales price was up 15%, at $158,029.

…and I thought this sort of thing only happened in Dallas.

North Central Division Community Engagement Officer Mark Andrew Lutz (@LutzDPD)

North Central Division Community Engagement Officer Mark Andrew Lutz (@LutzDPD)

This just in from Officer Mark Andrew Lutz of Dallas Police Department’s North Central Division:

Please assist DPD in locating a person of interest

The following incident occurred 06/02/14 at about 2 p.m. in the Preston/Royal area:

A teenage girl was walking in the 10800 Block of Camellia Lane when a 2009 Nissan Altima (or similar style of vehicle which was gray in color) pulled alongside the girl.

The driver honked and told the girl to get in the car. The girl ran to a residence and the driver drove away from the location.

The driver of the vehicle is described as a white male approximately 33 years old. He has red hair and beard which is trimmed.

DPD is asking the public to call 911 to report all suspicious activity and persons.

We will increase our presence in the area and will work closely with our crime watch community to address the safety needs of each neighborhood.

Creepers are everywhere, folks. Keep your eyes peeled and, if you aren’t following your local neighborhood watch already, now is a good time to start.

Small Car Door Key Lock

We’re not sure if Highland Park residents leave their vehicles unlocked more than people do in other places, but we do know it happens often in the town, and criminals take advantage of that fact. Just last week, burglars waltzed right into cars, trucks, and SUVs in Highland Park and helped themselves to the following items:

  • A $150 black leather bag containing legal documents was stolen from a pewter 2007 Mercedes E350 in the 4600 block of Belclaire Avenue between 4:30 p.m. on May 4 and 5:50 a.m. on May 5.
  • A $300 pair of sunglasses and a pink makeup bag that contained $30 in cash were stolen from a silver 2011 Infiniti QX5 in the 4600 block of South Versailles Avenue between 8 p.m. on May 4 and 7:30 a.m. on May 5.
  • About $60 worth of CDs, $50 in cash, a $40 pair of Toms shoes, and a $30 pair of Rainbow flip-flops were stolen from a gray 2012 BMW X5 in the 4600 block of Edmondson Avenue between 9 p.m. on May 7 and 8:30 a.m. on May 8.
  • A $400 pair of Tom Ford sunglasses, a $90 pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, and $2 in change were stolen from a bronze 2011 Ford F150 King Ranch in the 3600 block of Shenandoah Avenue between 8:30 p.m. on May 9 and 7:30 a.m. on May 10.

Of course, Highland Park was the not only desirable area where there were some notable burglaries last week.

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