Five stories that have North Texas talking: Dallas police have new tool: shame; another Texas congressman retires after sexual misconduct; how to help local families this Christmas; and more.
Dallas City Council this week passed a “nuisance abatement” ordinance that allows Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall to pinpoint properties that tolerate criminal activity.
The ordinance allows city officials to put a sign on such properties, identifying them as sites of “habitual criminal activity,” the Dallas Morning News reports. The idea is to try to get the owners of the property to address it.
A draft of the sign says:
“The Dallas Police Department has declared this property a criminal nuisance under Article VIII, Chapter 27, of the Dallas City Code. If you have questions, please call DPD at [telephone number determined by the chief]; Or, if you see something suspicious occurring at this property or in an emergency, dial 911.”
According to the Morning News: “Properties can be deemed an ‘abatable’ property after a year in which they ‘knowingly tolerate’ five or more offenses such as prostitution, creation or distribution of obscene material, assaults, robberies, unlawful carrying of weapons, murder or sexual abuse of children."
Anyone who takes down the sign without approval from the police chief would be committing an offense, but owners who fix up their property can get the sign removed.
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- Farenthold out: U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, will retire. He faced enormous pressure to step down after he was accused of sexual harassment. He settled one matter with a former staffer for $84,000, using taxpayer funds. [The Texas Tribune]
- In remembrance of: Ruth Altshuler died last week after complications from breaking her hip. She was 93. The Dallas philanthropist was known for raising millions of dollars for charities, like the Salvation Army and United Way. [KERA News]
- Christmas wish: An early morning fire this week destroyed toys gathered for donation by Dallas nonprofit Quest 4 Greater Success. You can save the holidays for local families in need by donating new toys at the Janie C. Turner Recreation Center by 8 p.m. [City of Dallas]
- Texas, by design: Take a tour of design and development in Texas’ largest cities and the towns in between. [Curbed]