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NE Dallas Shopping Center Labeled 'Crime Enabler'

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DALLAS (CBS11) - Demitria Olajide calls it the working class corridor of Northeast Dallas.

"We have families from all over the world living here. We shop the stores. Our kids walk to school," she said while describing Dallas' apartment-lined Forest Lane, as it stretches east from LBJ 635 to Audelia Road.

Olajide is a tenant inside Lake Highlands Landing, an apartment community that sits next to one of two neighborhood shopping centers.

The shopping center on the northwest corner of Forest and Audelia has a grocery store, a gas station and 10 other small shops and eateries. The shopping center on the southwest corner also offers a dry cleaners, pizza parlor and a medical care clinic.

But the southwest shopping center is also known as a magnet for murder, drug dealing and gang violence.

"I would not allow my children to go there. No, I will not," Olajide insisted in her description of the Bent Creek Shopping Center.

The shopping center has been labeled as a crime enabler.

The City of Dallas sought and acquired a court injunction against the center owner for not doing enough to stop crime and violence on the center's property.

Sixty-six drug related arrests, two robberies, seven aggravated assaults are part of a two-year tally of criminal conduct at Bent Creek. The injunction forced property owner Mohammed Khanani to provide full-time armed security at the center.

"The owner of the whole strip, it is his responsibility to ensure the patrons that visit are safe," Major Avery Moore of the Dallas Police Department said Monday.

"People tell us they avoid Forest and Audelia, and activity at the shopping center is why.

Property owner Khanani now provides armed security personnel on the parking lot.

DART closed a bus stop just steps from the center's popular convenience store, because of the continued acts of violence there, including shootings. "I want my customers to feel safe, and I want more police here, Khanani said, but the owner disputes the city's claim his center offers a climate for crime, and does little to stop it.

By late Monday afternoon, a cycle of paid security officer's drive through the Bent Creek parking lot. Dallas police officers cruise Forest Lane in preparation for another night of enforcement patrol. Demetria Olajide welcomes the injunction against Bent Creek, and hopes it changes the criminal activity that keeps safe on the other side of the street.


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