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'We want people to feel safe': Deep Ellum Foundation addresses concerns after recent wave in violence

A public safety team with Deep Ellum Foundation uses a store front as its command center. The group said it's taking proactive measures to help keep the area safer.

DALLAS — The vibrant Deep Ellum cultural district sits on the edge of Downtown Dallas business owners, neighbors and visitors refer to the area as the premiere entertainment district in the region.  

"It’s a place where hundreds of thousands of people come every year,” said Stephanie Keller Hudiburg, executive director of the Deep Ellum Foundation.

Deep Ellum is an area with over 100 bars and restaurants, more than 30 live music venues, and over 130 murals. 

Deep Ellum Foundation and its supporters said safety is top of mind. 

“We like to say Deep Ellum welcomes all comers, but it does not welcome violence,” said Keller Hudiburg.

The Foundation and its neighbors know recent episodes of violence are, unfortunately, shaping some negative perceptions of the area. A shooting on Elm Street left two people injured two weeks ago. 

This week, rapper T-Pain published a tweet about whether to move his upcoming show from The Factory in Deep Ellum to a different venue. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson responded to the tweet, saying there’s no reason to move the show.

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"We are one of the safest areas in the whole City of Dallas,” said Adam Holden, director of public safety for the Deep Ellum Foundation.

Staff wants the public to know they’ve been proactive in addressing safety and security concerns in the area. 

"Right now, we have about 25 cameras that view all areas of Deep Ellum,” said Holden. 

The Deep Ellum Foundation opened a command center on Main Street in February 2022. From it, security officers are watching live cameras in different zones 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“There’s always someone in here. They answer walk-ins. They answer phone calls,” said Holden. 

The space is also a hub where Dallas Police Department, Code Compliance staff, Dallas Fire-Rescue, and homeless case workers huddle to discuss enforcement strategies for any given night in Deep Ellum. 

“Our eyes are everywhere. If it’s happening in the district, we are going to see it. We’re going to respond to it,” said Holden.

In addition to increased security, the Deep Ellum Foundation said it’s relaunching ride share flow zones in May. The group, its councilmembers, and Dallas PD have been crafting a safety plan for the district that will soon be unveiled. 

Deep Ellum Foundation is also planning a community safety fair, among other initiatives. 

“We want people to feel safe and understand this is a safe district,” added Holden.