DALLAS — According to dfw.cbslocal.com, the corner of Bruton Rd. and St. Augustine Dr. in Pleasant Grove, Texas, is one of the most dangerous street corners in the northern part of the state, and after years of trying to curb crime, the city has devised a new tactic: sue a self-serve carwash owner.
“We can’t have people living in fear,” said Dallas Councilman Kevin Felder. “We can’t have that, so we are doing something about it.”
Jerry Sliwa, 77, bought the self-serve carwash in the 9500 block of Bruton St. as a retirement investment, the article continued.
“I didn’t buy the crime with the carwash. I just bought the carwash,” Sliwa said.
Sliwa added that he has done everything the city asked him to do to fight crime: put up cameras, extra lights, a fence and signage warning about loitering, the article noted.
Last month, he even installed a gate and began closing the carwash at 10 p.m. instead of keeping it open 24/7, the article noted.
“Everything that they have asked us to do we have done except for a guard standing up there with a gun,” Sliwa said. “I can’t afford that.”
The city’s lawsuit claims the carwash constitutes a “common nuisance” under the law for knowingly tolerating criminal activity and not making reasonable attempts to prevent it, the article stated; furthermore, it calls for Sliwa to hire a licensed armed security guard.
Two years ago, Sliwa hired an armed guard for the carwash, and there was no reported criminal activity at the carwash for the next nine months, the article added.
However, at 50¢ per wash, Sliwa said that, economically, he could not continue to keep the guard hired, so he ended the contract, the article continued.
Six days later, a man was murdered at the carwash, the article noted.
Felder said the city is ready to shutdown the carwash if Sliwa does not comply with the demands in the lawsuit, the article added.
“When we have an operator that refuses to comply, we have no other choice,” Felder said.
Sliwa said he feels the city is making him a scapegoat for the fact that the city doesn’t have enough police officers, the article noted.
According to the city’s latest numbers, the number of officers is down more than 200 from two years ago, the article added.
“That is a common defense but that is not true,” explained Felder.
Felder went on to explain that the crime happening at the carwash was occurring long before the police shortage, the article reported.
“The City of Dallas is going to do what it has to do to make that corner safe, and that’s exactly what we are doing,” Felder said.
Read the original article here.