Dallas Community Prosecution
The mission of the Community Prosecution Section is to proactively improve public safety and the quality of life within the City of Dallas by: (1) engaging the community to identify and solve nuisance-related problems, (2) seeking voluntary compliance from property owners who maintain substandard or hazardous properties or illegal land uses, (3) filing civil actions and criminal prosecution against non-compliant property owners, and (4) strategically collaborating with other city departments and local agencies to more effectively deploy city resources.
How We Accomplish Our Mission
The Dallas City Attorney’s office designates Assistant City Attorneys as Community Prosecutors and pairs them with state-certified Code Officers from the Department of Code Compliance. The Community Prosecutors and Code Inspectors are assigned to neighborhoods throughout the City of Dallas and have offices in their assigned neighborhoods.
1.Empowering, Strengthening and Engaging Communities:
In order to effectively serve the community in a proactive fashion, Community Prosecutors are tasked with generating, cultivating and amplifying community involvement. This involvement is integral to identifying problems, addressing their roots and providing solutions in a manner that best fits the community. Community Prosecutors are provided an array of tools to assist them in these endeavors, including facilitating Citzen ACTION (All Coming Together In Our Neighborhood) team meetings where a Community Prosecutor, neighborhood stakeholders and civil servants work to improve and strengthen their neighborhoods. Community Prosecutors also regularly attend homeowner’s association meetings, neighborhood crime watch meetings, and special neighborhood events including National Night Out and graffiti wipe-outs.
The Dallas City Attorney’s Office has various tools available to serve blighted neighborhoods. With assistance from code officers and community members, Community Prosecutors identify substandard commercial and residential properties that negatively affect the surrounding community. Community Prosecutors use civil remedies to enforce the city’s minimum housing standards and zoning ordinances, among other ordinances, and file lawsuits in municipal and district court seeking orders that require property owners to repair their properties. Additionally, Community Prosecutors assist with representing the City in various administrative proceedings.
Community Prosecutors also participate in the criminal justice system by serving as the prosecutors in the three City of Dallas Community Courts. The Community Prosecutors prosecute offenders who commit numerous quality of life crimes including: maintaining a substandard structure, illegal land use, prostitution, public intoxication, graffiti, littering, illegal dumping and disorderly conduct. Having the ability to utilize both civil and criminal remedies gives community prosecutors a range of options to address community concerns.
3.Public Safety through Specialized Initiatives:
The Dallas Community Prosecution Team (CP Team) partners with other City Departments in order to strategically attack blight and havens for criminal activity. Community Prosecutors regularly organize and implement inspections of bars and dance clubs by city and state inspectors; refer tax-delinquent, nuisance properties for foreclosure; and manage the City’s participation in urban renewal programs including the Texas Nation Guard’s Operation Crackdown Program and the U.S. Marshals’ Operation Goodwill Program. Additionally, the CP Team assists with vacant property closures, the cleaning of empty lots, and sign and lighting sweeps.