STOLEN GOODS: Jody Dean’s trip to Neiman’s at NorthPark turned sour when he discovered that his pickup was missing. photography by Matthew Hawthorne

Why is Crime on the Rise at NorthPark Center?

When KLUV 98.7 morning host Jody Dean couldn’t find his truck outside of Neiman Marcus at NorthPark Center, he thought he was having a senior moment. It took him almost an hour toting around his 2-year-old daughter from parking lot to parking lot to accept an ugly reality: someone had stolen his pickup. That someone got his truck, a couple hundred dollars worth of wine, checks, a cherished Bible, a personal journal, and his calendar planner.

Dean got lucky. Police recovered his effects and the truck—sans tires, rims, and wine—a day later. But he became the most public face of the growing crime problem at NorthPark Center.

A search of the Dallas Police Department’s online database shows that incidents reported at NorthPark such as thefts, shoplifting, store burglaries, auto burglaries, and robberies have risen dramatically since January 1, 2005. (For the search, we used the mall’s street address and eliminated incident reports for non-crimes like “lost property” and motor vehicle accidents.)

How dramatically? In 2005, there were about 100 such reports to police. In 2006, that number jumped to about 170. In 2007 it rose again, this time to about 260.

From the start of 2008 through March 25, there were already 67 incidents reported—putting the mall on track for almost 290 incidents for this year, and that’s not even factoring in holiday season increases in thefts and shoplifting.

The mall sees some 25 million visitors a year. And a three-year, $235 million expansion completed in spring 2006 doubled the size of the destination retail center.

Still, that alone can’t account for the increase. According to Dallas Police Deputy Chief James Elliston, crime in the police beat around the mall has been softly declining.

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