HPD launches crime fighting initiative

August 6, 2009 4:39:57 PM PDT
Burglars are targeting homeowners in one part of town. Police say it's a crime that is on the rise there, and now they're doing something about it. Police divisions across the city are coming up with new initiatives to fight crime and for that part of town, one of the biggest problems is home burglaries. Residents of two subdivisions in particular in southeast Houston say they have no idea why thieves are targeting their homes.

Homeowners in the Oak Meadows and Meadowcreek neighborhood say it's been years since they've seen such a rash of criminal activity. And now, they're being told to keep their guard up.

Delia Martinez has called Oak Meadows home for the past 44 years. While she's always felt safe there, life has recently has been unsettling

"We didn't use to lock the doors," said Martinez. "I used to leave my back door unlocked. Now you've got to lock everything."

That's because Houston police have labeled her neighborhood a "hot zone," a southeast Houston community that's seen a significant spike in home burglaries. It's become the talk of the town.

"They break into people's houses when they are not home," said resident Teresa Clark. "They steal people's TVs, cameras, anything they can get their hands on to get money."

How bad is it? Our exclusive Crime Tracker looked all the home break-ins in the area of southeast Houston that borders Pasadena and found residential burglaries were up over 37 percent from last year. HPD has launched what it's calling a new fall crime initiative, specifically targeting burglaries, in addition to saturating neighborhoods with more patrols.

"We'll be doing surveillance as well, watching known hot areas for burglaries and making sure that we canvass areas, looking for suspicious activity and person's in the area," said Captain Bruce Williams with the Houston Police Department.

The crime fighting initiative is underway throughout the entire city as home burglaries are on the rise throughout Houston. Homeowners in Oak Meadows, who are tired of feeling victimized, say they welcome the increase in police presence and can only hope their efforts make a real difference.

"What they deserve is to get thrown in jail and to be honest with you, they should get the key, throw it away so they cannot get out," said resident Robert Jumper.

Police are also using this initiative as an opportunity to educate the public. If you're going away, make sure your home looks lived in, mark your personal belongings and talk to your neighbors. Have them check on your home to make sure everything is OK.

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The city of Houston has allocated $116 million for the five month long crime fighting program. The amount of money each police district receives depends on the scope of the criminal activity.

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