Are residents easy prey for criminals?

June 16, 2009 7:30:56 PM PDT
People in one community claim they are not getting the help they need and feel it's making them a target for crime. They live in Brunswick Meadows, a new neighborhood off Highway 288 and the Beltway. The homeowners say they they've worked hard to buy houses in what they thought was a safe neighborhood, but now they're stocking up on door locks and buying alarms because they feel that while criminals can find them, law enforcement cannot.

Sheretta Edwards doesn't want to install burglar bars nor security doors in her barely year-old home. But she feels there's no other option. Edwards and her neighbors say their Brunswick Meadows subdivision is getting lost, sandwiched between Houston and Pearland.

911 calls from this new subdivision often gets bounced around before finally landing at the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

"If I have an emergency, I don't want to push buttons. I want to dial three numbers ideally and get who's supposed to come out and help me," said Edwards.

It's become such a problem that homeowners have started their own Internet blog to trade burglary stories. A.K. Babers has installed new locks and taken other security measures after watching his neighbors' homes get burglarized.

"It makes me kind of upset, because I know I can possibly be next," said Babers.

On Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Adrian Garcia admitted that some neighborhoods fall through the cracks because the neighborhoods are built faster than the county database can keep up, and he promised to look into the issue.

"I think it's important for me to make a call to my communications folks and to make sure we have that area identified and let's battle it out on our level," said Garcia. "It's not the residents' fault. We need to figure it out, one way or another."

As for homeowners like Edwards, she just hopes the problems get straightened out so she and her family can feel safe at home.

"This is a place I love," said Edwards. "It's my first home, so paying a mortgage on a place where I'm afraid to open my windows, of course it's concerning to me."

On Tuesday afternoon, the Harris County Sheriff's Department sent out an accounting of the calls in that area. They pointed out that there are contract deputies in that subdivision. The commander in that district says he believes the area is covered well.

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