Dallas neighborhood sees code violation crack down after disturbance

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on September 6, 2012 at 10:53 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 6 at 11:47 PM

DALLAS - The City of Dallas went back to the Dixon Circle neighborhood in South Dallas Thursday with another show of force. But this time not with police officers to quell a near riot, like in July, but with code officers.

The people living in Dixon Circle have a long-time stake in their neighborhood, and now the city pounds stakes to help clean it up.

Up to seven code compliance officers zipped into the area posting citations for high weeds and trash, and others for vacant and open buildings.

Paul Freeney and his brother, who lead the Dixon Circle Missionary Baptist Church, welcome the attention, "We need help from the community. Stop being afraid, people -- Come out if you want your community to get better. You have to come out, you have to help us."

In late July, the low-income neighborhood nearly exploded after a police officer shot an unarmed man running from a known drug house.

Police didn't make any arrests in the crowd from the disturbance, but residents, community leaders and the city all saw the status quo couldn't stand.

That's why Reverend Earnest Freeney hopes the house next to the church, vacant and boarded 15 years, won't stand either.

"You cannot repair this house," he said. "This house has got to be torn down, something have got to be done about it."

The city said the code sweep isn't a direct response to the post-shooting disturbance.

Regardless, the mayor and council have been forcefully clear the city can't abandon declining southern Dallas neighborhoods.

"We do care about what the community says, we do care about how people feel about their community, and where they live, how they live," said Joseph Scott, who supervises code compliance in southeast Dallas.

Next week, code returns to cite more bad structures and said it will remain diligent to chase violations.

Residents will be watching.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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