The Victim: Various
The Crime: Burglary, theft, outstanding arrest warrants and more
Date: Throughout 2011
Time: All hours
Location: North Oak Cliff

The license plate was stolen — and his past was violent.

An officer rode behind the suspicious vehicle in the Stevens Park neighborhood and ran his plates. The license plate didn’t match the vehicle, and the officer turned on the red and blue lights and siren.

Not only was the license plate stolen, the driver also had outstanding arrest warrants in Dallas and Mesquite and was driving with a suspended license. Oh yeah, he also had been arrested four times for aggravated assault — not exactly a guy you want hanging out in your neighborhood.

The cuffs went on his wrists and he was taken away. This real crime is exactly how the North Oak Cliff United Police Patrol (NOCCUP, pronounced “knock up”) is supposed to work, a proactive approach to complement traditional policing to help remove criminals from neighborhoods before they commit more crimes.

In November 2007, North Oak Cliff residents had grown tired of crime in their area, and began looking for some solutions. After residents considered several options, NOCUPP was formed — ready to take a bite out of crime. And that’s just what they’ve done.

The group uses donations from residents to lease police cars from the department and hires off-duty police officers to patrol in the neighborhoods covered by NOCCUP (Kessler Park, Winnetka Heights, Stevens Park, West Kessler, East Kessler and Kessler Plaza). The plan benefits all residents in the area, but donor members also receive the officers’ cell phone numbers for immediate responses.

“We’re an expanded neighborhood patrol with the Dallas Police Department,” NOCCUP board president Audrey Pinkerton says. “The officers focus just in our area, North Oak Cliff.”

The group’s efforts have been reducing crime in recent years, since the patrols began. Simple traffic violation monitoring and reports of suspicious people have led to arrests and crime reduction.

“They’re able to zero in on people who aren’t supposed to be there,” Pinkerton says of the officers’ work. “The crime levels have come down in all the neighborhoods served. Their goal is to really remove the criminal from the neighborhood.”

In the full first year alone, auto theft in the area was down 60 percent, she adds.

Dallas Police Lt. Gil Garza of the Southwest Patrol Division says these types of programs have become a big crime deterrent in many neighborhoods.

“Historically, most of the time when we partner up with groups like this, it has worked pretty well,” he says. “Most of the time when we have an expanded neighborhood patrol, it’s a very successful, consistent program.”

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