Historic Districts Define Safe Neighborhoods

The Dallas Morning News

Gaston Avenue is presently a travesty of 1950s apartments running between the $800,000 houses on Swiss Avenue and $300,000 houses in Munger Place. With the necessary environmental changes, Gaston could become immensely attractive and desirable. Where else can a person rent a $400 to $600 apartment adjacent to a mansion and around the corner from the prettiest boulevard park in the city? A Gaston residence is only a short walk to Lakewood Shopping Center or Baylor Medical Center and is on a five-minute bus line to downtown. It is the most convenient location in Dallas for older citizens of modest means.

Swiss Avenue and Munger Place Historic Districts have all of the ingredients of a safe neighborhood. Their exemplary track record is not surprising when you review these neighborhoods. Crime is prevented by watchful eyes, not vacant streets. Involved homeowners with a commitment to the area make a neighborhood safer. Neighbors visiting each other on front porches, mothers strolling their children on the Boulevard and residents jogging and cycling through the Districts create a neighborhood presence that is a successful impediment to a criminal element.

Sixteen years ago, Munger Place and Swiss Avenue create the first neighborhood associations in Dallas that now has over eight hundred neighborhood associations. Swiss Avenue, Munger Place and Junius Heights were among the first neighborhoods to have a Rent-A-Cop program where off-duty police officers patrol the neighborhood.

The residents in the Historic Districts know and care about each other. These neighbors not only make the Historic Districts safe, but also make them special. The next time you are in the neighborhood, whether it is this weekend for the Munger Place Home Tour or driving home from work or church, stop and say “Hello” to one of the neighbors in the front yard and ask them how they like living in Old East Dallas. Stability and the commitment of a neighborhood are the only way to combat the increasing mobility of criminals. Our Historic Districts have built their reputation not only on the beautiful Prairie style, Georgian and Mediterranean mansions, but the involvement and dedication of the residents.