Violent crime rate dropping in W. Houston

April 22, 2009 4:10:14 PM PDT
Residents in west Houston have been dealing with a mix of rumors and real crime sprees that have spread fear in parts of the community lately.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

It's not what's happening in their west side neighborhoods that concern the citizens there, but what's taking place around them. While violent crime there is down slightly from what it was a year ago, residents say they have yet to feel a sense of security.

From the two men who police say ripped off two businesses and threatened to shoot a child to the latest case of armed robbery, where a man used a gun to steal someone's wallet to an email about a kidnapping, which may or may not be a hoax...

"I think it just leads to more stuff," said resident Jennifer Conti. "There's always going to be something going on."

West side residents like Conti are living in fear, even though statistics show the streets around her aren't as dangerous as they used to be.

"The day to day constant worrying and fear is still there because we know that in certain areas it's not getting better," she told us.

Violent crime in the police beat that includes Lakeside Estates is down three-and-a-half percent from what it was a year ago. For police, the real battle these days is changing people's perception.

"What they are hearing, a lot of times, they are hearing the same story, but different versions, so they are thinking it's multiple cases when it's actually just one incident that occurred," said Lt Paul Ryza with the Houston Police Department.

Houston city Council Member Pam Holm told us, "There are indications the crime situation in our city is changing. I have recommended HPD provide accurate and concise information so people can deal with the reality rather than fear or panic."

Conti says all she wants is her sense of security back.

"I'd like to think that the police aren't there to go after crime after it happens," she said. "I would like to think that there is a visible presence all the time."

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