A neighborhood in Dallas has been put on police lock-down after a dozen violent hate crimes against gay men and several robberies were reported.
The city’s Oak Lawn gayborhood has seen a frightening uptick in antigay bashings in recent months.
Last Thursday, Geoffrey Hubbard (pictured) became at least the twelfth victim in three months of an antigay hate crime when he was bashed him in the skull with a rock while walking to a friend’s house. He sustained a temporal bone fracture that required several stitches to his head.
Rally for Change, a local organization, has been demanding increased police presence and better protection in the area for months.
“Survivors have been beaten with bats, stabbed with box cutters, pistol whipped and pummeled with fists,” the organization said in a statement. “In several of these attacks, homophobic language has been used by the assailants.”
The statement continued:
“For weeks DPD has promised an increased presence in the neighborhood. When pushed on the fact that such an increase has been spotty and largely invisible, DPD has pointed to officer shortages and has now even suggested that the protection provided by our tax dollars is not enough and that we should pay for expanded patrols by off duty officers.”
In response to the most recent attack, the city is finally taking action. Oak Lawn has been put on “lock-down,” with police encouraging residents to be cautious and “take care of each other.”
Additionally, a group of “roughly a half dozen” officers have also been assigned to the area instead of patrolling a larger beat.
On Friday, Mayor Mike Rawlings also went door-to-door to help assure residents he is doing his best to address the issue and to let them know CrimeStoppers has increased its reward for information in the attacks from $5,000 to $10,000.
So far, there are still no leads yet on suspects in any of the assaults.
Hubbard, who is still recovering from his injuries, is encouraging people to be extremely cautious.
“I’m not saying avoid the streets and lock your doors,” he told WFAA-TV, “but don’t travel alone.”