After Yesterday's Shooting at DART Station, Caraway Wants Agency To Do "Something"

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One month ago Dallas Area Rapid Transit released its 2011 Customer Satisfaction Survey, with nine out of 10 riders insisting they would recommend DART to others. But Pages 19 and 20 of the 23-page report are filled with concerns over security aboard DART buses and trains: Only 78 percent of those surveyed said they felt safe at stops and stations, a five-year low for the transit agency; and only 70 percent said they see DART cops riding the rails, a new low. "This may have a direct correlation to customers' decline in feeling safe on DART trains," said the survey.

DART said it had several fixes in mind: "modifying deployment plans to increase police presence," installing closed-circuit cams at stations by the middle of the year, strengthening the ties between DART police and local and federal law enforcement agencies. "One particular effort with Dallas Police," said the release accompanying the survey, "is aimed at reducing crime involving juveniles." This, after 19-year-old Octavius Lanier was killed by kids, between the ages of 12 and 14, at the MLK Station in November; and 20-year-old Dominique Wilson was shot and killed in January at the Pearl Station.

A little farther north, of course, was the scene of yesterday's incident that began when a man, thought to be around 25, boarded a bus at the Arapaho Center Station and had a run-in with a driver. Cops were called; shots, ultimately, fired. And in the end, two are dead: the gunman and a passenger waiting on a platform, caught, perhaps, in the crossfire. A DART officer was also wounded.

And once again DART will be asked: Are you doing enough to make the trains and buses safe?

"This, in my opinion, has gone too far," council member Dwaine Caraway tells Unfair Park this morning. Till now, he says, he's been fine with letting the council's appointed members to the DART board deal with issues of security; now, he says, it's time for the council to ask questions of DART President Gary Thomas and Chief J.D. Spiller, among others. "I will turn up the heat and my voice: They have to do something. They must. Today. They need to have a new plan and implement it. An emergency plan. They need to keep the people safe. If it's a fact of money, stop building and keep the people safe. They're gonna build and build, but who's gonna ride if it's not safe?"

But as DART spokesman Mark Ball told Channel 11 yesterday: "I don't really know what can be done, you have a right to carry in the state of Texas." Cathy Bentz, a regular rider from Garland, was at the Arapaho station yesterday; she was unfazed by the incident, telling The News that, look, "Something like that could happen anywhere -- on a car, in a plane, even just going for a walk."

Caraway had been on Channel 4 last night insisting DART put officers on every train and every bus; he proposed TSA-style security checkpoints at stations. This morning, he's come off that just a bit. "We need to put police on buses where we feel we have concerns and at those stations," he says.

"But ultimately we're spending millions of dollars on trains, and they're at risk when people don't feel safe. You don't want to inconvenience riders and make it miserable to ride. But innocent people were killed and injured. Something needs to take place. And my voice will be extremely loud till it's addressed. My voice will be very public and one I think is needed. We need to turn into a choir all singing the same song, the song of safety."
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94 comments
Experiment632
Experiment632

I suspect the shooter is either from Oak Cliff or a similar area with high crimes rate. DART should solve this problem by instituting total denial of service to Oak Cliff and other areas deemed to have high crimes rates.

GAA
GAA

DART is safer than riding in an automobile. 

Bubba Hick
Bubba Hick

keep blacks from using DART....there problem solved... yall can thank me later

Royce Williams
Royce Williams

DART spokesman Mark Ball made the asinine statement, "I don't really know what can be done; you have a right to carry in the state of Texas".  Any public official so ignorant of Texas law needs to be relieved of his duties.  Only a law abiding citizen that holds a concealed handgun license has the right to carry a handgun on his person away from his residence or vehicle in the State of Texas.  Anti-gun laws mean nothing to criminal trash like Cory Jones, who UNDER TEXAS LAW committed a third degree felony just by possessing a firearm.  It is shameful that Ball used this tragic event to suggest that this crime is somehow attributable to the CHL law in Texas.  The DART board should ask for his immediate  resignation and if he does not resign, fire him!

JerryB
JerryB

The copy is not clear about when you are talking about light rail or bus lines. If there are not multiple recorded high-quality video cameras at all light rail stations, that would be gross negligence on the part of DART!!

Sean
Sean

The violent crime rate in Dallas has been dropping for seven years. These things can and do happen anywhere. What does he expect to accomplish except a police state? I don't need protection from the government unless a foreign nation is attacking.

footmeetA$$
footmeetA$$

I think all kids starting in kindergarten should be required to take ninjitsu and that way in the future we will have a society of bad ass ninjas. That way, nobody will be fucking around, and if they do there will be a kick ass ninja battle that'll take place...and that would be tight! The End:)

footmeetA$$
footmeetA$$

DART police [rabble,rabble,rabble]...Mark Ball [rabble,rabble,rabble]....CHLs [rabble,rabble,rabble]....I've got to get some where [guess my ass is taking the DART...rabble,rabble,rabble]...But on the real, "it makes me wonder some time how I keep from going under!"

JB
JB

DO SOMETHING!  That is the problem with many politicians, an incident prompts public outcry, the pol wets his/her finger, sticks it in the air to gauge the direction and speed of the wind, then gallops to get in front of the herd bleating that 'ACTION MUST BE TAKEN!'  Of course, this is regardless of how expensive that 'something' will be, how effective 'something' is and the extent of unintended consequences.  That doesn't matter, the pol must be seen by the public as being active to satisfy the demand du jour.

I will agree that a trend of violence and crime seems to be arising around DART and train stations in recent months, but take some time to analyze the problem and plot a response that will be really effective.

Viper
Viper

Once again a stupid its not our fault comment by Dart spokesperson"But as DART spokesman Mark Ball told Channel 11 yesterday: "I don't really know what can be done, you have a right to carry in the state of Texas." Unreal

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

I am trying to figure out Mr. Ball's comment regarding CHL's. He he passing the buck regarding the responsibility to safety to the citizens or he he implying the guy had a CHL.  Either way he is a moron.

As a CHL holder, I do believe that I hold the opportunity to be the first reponder to situations even before the "first" responders.  I take that responsibility with proper training and practice.  But, if DART is actually thinking that I will become their unpaid security, they need to think again.  Texas is a safer place because of CHL's, however do not think that they are a replacement.

As many commentators have already said, the costs, training and application process that I had to go through, makes be doubt that a person who would go this nuts over a bus pass had been through this process.

As a side note, WFAA is reporting that one of the victims was possibly shot by the DART officer.  Make me unsure about the firearms ablity of the officers.  In all seriousness, I strongly believe in the right to bear arms, however with any right the user must take on the responsibility to proficiently exercise that right.  The second amendment speaks to a "well regulated militia", which should be defined as well trained.

Ginsle
Ginsle

also over 240 people make a 75 grand and up.. just thought I would throw that in there with respect to Dart complacency on the subject

McGruff
McGruff

Suspect got off too easy after trying to kill a cop point blank. Stupid punks feeling brazen because they are carrying, out to prove something to anyone that crosses them.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Remember when Dodge Chargers first started being marketed as police cars... DART was among the first purchasers lined up.  Shortly after the new fleet was introduced, the DART Police HQ parking lot was filled with brand new shiny Chargers-- years before DPD (for example) got them.

That tells you quite a bit about the culture afoot in the DART Police Department.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I've said this about DART for years, why are they lacking gated entrance at their train stations? One thing that would solve about 98% of these idiots from accessing their platforms at all locations would be building out both lockout system (i.e. air gates, ticket/pass readers, fencing, ect..) not to mention merging DART/Transit police into whatever local department (Dallas, Plano, Richardson, C-FB) structure and place them under that cities auspices, as most of their "officers" I've met either have no business being in a uniform and/or act as nothing more than glorified meter readers/conductors.

Texasdave60
Texasdave60

I ride DART buses and trains...NEVER have I seen a DART uniformed cop on a DART bus...NEVER.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

So there are no turnstiles to prevent free riders? Genius.  They didn't install CCTV when they built the stations?  More genius. And DART officers patrol HOV lanes to ticket violators. I suggest whoever is in charge of DART is unlikely to have the capacity to deal with its problems.

Montemalone
Montemalone

This has nothing to do with DART, per se.It has everything to do with a culture that glamourizes guns and thugs.If basic parenting can't produce civil adults, maybe we need boarding schools for these kids that just keep perpetuating the cycle.We need to end this for the good of everyone.

Monkey-bad
Monkey-bad

Time for new leadership at dart.

Wills
Wills

Maybe the State of Texas could assign 6 state policeman to follow me around, like they did ex-presidential candidate Perry, so they could shoot the bad guys.  Only seems fair, my life is worth as much as Perry's.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

I wonder if it is time to take a fresh look at law enforcement approach to DART.  It seems that in many circumstances, local police could do a far better job of patrolling DART stations than DART cops--- who spend much of their day wasting time driving from one station to the next.

A combination of local police (focused on patrolling individual DART stations in conjunction with their patrols of adjacent neighborhoods) supplemented by rail and bus riding DART cops might be a better solution.

Joe
Joe

You drastically increase your chances of being killed in an automobile. Even if you add in this type of violence (which in fact is rare compared to the number or routes, stops and buses), your odds of being harmed in an automobile are much greater. We haven't even discussed the issue of carjacking.

Ginsle
Ginsle

Get the cops out of the cars and onto the trains and buses. We have DPD and a bunch of county sheriffs, etc already in cars. It's an immediate fix with a cost of $O.

NotTheSuburbs
NotTheSuburbs

I have been seeing more DART cops on trains recently, but only during morning rush hour.  That would be the only time you really don't need the cops. 

The evening trains are sketchy and don't ride during the middle of the day, the train is a rolling party.  How about some cops and fare enforcement then?

Guest
Guest

Go fuck yourself!

Jd
Jd

Dart - bringing South Dallas to your doorstep.

Joe
Joe

This wasn't in Dallas.

Ed D.
Ed D.

That's great, until they realize that we're not bad-ass ninjas and take over. (I, for one, welcome our new pint-sized ninja overlords...)

KP
KP

I am in no way a supporter of concealed-carry laws and even I thought the comment was idiotic and misguided.

JB
JB

Rumpunch, I completely concur with your post.  I am also a CHL holder and agree that it is a big responsibility and one must be well prepared mentally and physically.

If one of the victims were shot by the DART cop, I wouldn't be surprised at all.  I get far more range time than a typical cop and I'm sure that I am a much better shooter than them.  I also practice some 'defensive' shooting maneuvers at the range and continually run through 'what if' scenarios in my mind.

NewsHound
NewsHound

Perpetrator had 2 previous assault convictions according to NBCDFW so no CHL for him.

Ben
Ben

That's what Jose Castro did when he murdered Karen Lafon on Greenville Avenue a few years ago. He rode around on DART till he found a part of town where he could find a victim. He murdered her as she got off an elevator in her office building at Greenville and Northwest Highway. He fled. On DART.

footmeetA$$
footmeetA$$

Afoot and DART Police do not belong in the same sentence together. Oh wait. Was that a pun?

GAA
GAA

I call b.s.

Fletch
Fletch

I never have either.  Seldom on a train and never on a bus.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Violent crime is the lowest it's been in 30+ years as a nation. Let's not perpetuate the "those damn kids, it was better in my days" BS.

Plus who's paying for your boarding schools? Bad parents typically don't have tons of disposable income.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I'm willing to bet your odds of getting harmed on DART are higher than the odds you get carjacked. You kinda went wheels-off on a good point there at the end.

civilservant
civilservant

Read my previous comment. Also be mindful that DART police work lots of accidents. They run lots of code 3 (lights and sirens) throughout the cities. Other agencies already have thier full load. They can sometimes help but they have to have enough on thier plates.

Fletch
Fletch

Also, don't forget the two classy guys that boarded the Blue Line train in south Dallas on a mission to "hit a lick" (street slang for robbery) that ultimately ended up at the Downtown Garland Station.  The two robbery victims were shot to death.  That happened two or three years ago I think.

Montemalone
Montemalone

A few years of boarding school now is infinitely cheaper than the societal cost of crime and future incarceration, which is where this kid would have ended up if he wasn't dead.Matter of fact, diverting some of the big bucks spent on prisons to boarding schools would be a much better use of the money.

Crime rates may be down, but they're not gone.

Joe
Joe

These aren't in a vacuum. Riding rail is almost always safer than driving when one takes into account all of the risk factors. The fact that carjacking might be rarer than something else isn't relevant. What matters is all of those risk factors combined of which getting shot and getting carjacked are only two. People commented as if driving was risk free when it is not and when in fact it is less safe in spite of the fact that a whack job starts shooting at a DART station.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

 I fear the DISD passed its tipping point and has sunk to depths that are well past saving.  Between the lack of money, the teacher-admin-school board politics, the internal school board politics, racial divisions, the corporate greed of builders and suppliers, teacher unaccountability, and the christian-based science proponents in Austin, there is no solution to be found or designed that will survive this dysfunctionality.  "The children" has become a soundbite and the parents seem completely impotent to impose any rationality on the school system  This leaves the actual children unprepared to fend for themselves in a modern society demanding increasing levels of education and sophistication.  It has rotted through, top to bottom, roots to leaves, and this rot will inevitably spread to Dallas, its economy, and our society.  If DISD were a business it would have been closed and liquidated long ago.  If it were a country there would be civil war or revolution.  Instead, we have refugee peripheral school districts and private schools for those who can afford to escape this pitiful chaos.

It will be expensive and unpopular but I see little left to do but tear the whole thing down and start over with something completely different.  Whatever that may be cannot be as bad as this.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Fix DISD, for one. If the area's largest school system wasn't pathetic, you wouldn't need to shunt money away from it to fund an alternative system. If the state didn't have their heads up their asses when it came to school funding, large public districts wouldn't be in dire straits. 

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

 Get them in and get them to stay?  Carrots (good education, room, board and clothing) and sticks (poor performer, you go, you get there you are locked in).  Money? You choose between (1) an expensive and overtaxed judiciary, prison system and the cost of thefts and the costs to crime victims, and (2) boarding schools.  Transfer the state and local direct costs per student to the boarding schools.  And make it voluntary.  A lot of parents may like this new chance better than the existing failures.

What's your solution?

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

The same society that, on a whole, is safer than it's been in a long, long time? No society has no crime.

And it's all well and good for you to wax philosophical about boarding schools, but how would they be funded? Property tax increase? Sales tax? State income tax? Higher federal taxes? Coins from fountains? Salvation Army kettles year-round? Because your pipe dream of shuffling prison money (ask California how those funds are doing) isn't a solution to a whole new educational system.

Plus how are you going to enforce enrollment? You going to use the same overtaxed judicial system to order kids there? Betcha you get some claims of it being unconstitutional.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

 I have long been the proponent of boarding schools for kids aged 3-18.  The DISD teacher apologists are always claiming how great the teaching is but that the kids are doomed by bad parents and worse neighborhoods.  Boarding schools would fix all of that.

footmeetA$$
footmeetA$$

I think they should be sent to etiquette schools, too. It seriously upsets me when I see these young hooligans eating out! Disgusting, I tell you, simply atrocious! 

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