Rise in crime in 'safe' neighborhood

February 25, 2008 5:19:41 PM PST
A once quiet area has seen a recent spike in crime. We put our exclusive Crime Tracker to work and found two areas of Clear Lake -- one where crime dropped and one where it jumped. Police maintain Clear Lake is one of the safest areas of the city. The crime rate is so low, a fluctuation, whether it's up or down, would have a drastic impact on the overall percentage. That being said, a recent spike has homeowners in one neighborhood on edge and asking questions.

Homeowner Ria Brown said, "We've never really had much crime here."

A southeast Houston neighborhood once considered by many to be crime free is now on guard.

Ria said, "We lock our doors and make sure they are locked."

A University Greens homeowner for 14 years, Ria is using things she never imagined -- motion sensitive porch lights and surveillance cameras. She's safeguarding her home in hopes of warding off any would-be prowlers.

"They drive by and it's any time of day or night," Ria recalled. "They'll try and go through your gates in the back and they jump the fence if they can't get in."

Last year, burglaries in this Clear Lake neighborhood near Bay Area Boulevard were up more than 64% -- that's 55 more reported break-ins than the year before. That's the only spike we uncovered. We put our exclusive Crime Tracker and found a sharp increase in violent crime. While the overall rate is low compared to other parts of Houston, it was up more than 67% -- most notably robbery and aggravated assaults.

Capt. W.R. Goralski with the Houston Police Department explained, "We're showing some serious reductions in crime already."

Police in district 12 are attacking crime from all angles. Since January, they've developed a burglary prevention and reduction program, a hot spot tactical team and more targeted patrols. Ria Brown has noticed an improvement.

She said, "They have gone door to door on a few of the homes to let us know they are here."

Police attribute the spike in crime to population growth and in some cases gang activity.

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