Dallas, TX – A group of armed citizens who are tired of seeing their neighbors being victimized have been patrolling the Highland Hills area for the past month to help deter crime on their own.
“We are not trying to police anybody,” Devante Peters told WFMY. “We are not trying to intimidate anyone. We just want to let them know that we are an extra resource that we have in terms of safety and security.”
The group of local men carry weapons openly, and refer to themselves as community engagement activists.
The Dallas Police Department (DPD) has been facing an officer shortage during an uptick in violent crime in the city, WFMY reported.
The activists said there are not enough officers on the streets to combat criminals alone, and that they have not seen state law enforcement in the area even though state troopers have been helping out throughout the city at DPD’s request.
Many residents in the Highland Hills apartment complex said they feel more comfortable letting their kids play in the area since the patrols began.
“I think it’s been really good [that] they have been walking around,” resident Chanta Baker told WFMY.
“We are not here policing or being security guards,” Marcus Russell reiterated. “We are coming as brothers.”
K.B. Kabbara, who works at the complex, said that crime has decreased in the area with the group’s presence.
"With these guys being here, things have been getting a whole lot better at the complex,” Kabbara told WFMY.
Volunteers have also been sprucing up the area with various beautification projects, and have helped local families to obtain school supplies for the upcoming academic year.
The DPD cautioned citizens against confronting armed criminals, but said they welcome the help, WFMY reported.