Plan aims to make Woodlands parks safer

May 4, 2010 8:38:53 PM PDT
The Woodlands Township is increasing patrols along its 180 miles of paths and bike trails. Law enforcement officers say while some crime statistics are down, others are up, and putting more officers on the trails is a way to address the problem head-on.

Resident Pam Gunn enjoys the many Woodlands paths and parkways, and so does her yellow lab, Jakey Girl.

"I come every three, four days for her," Gunn said.

And while she feels her dog's presence can deter would-be criminals, people also take notice of deputies patrolling on bike like Chris Roberts and Jim Hook.

"I know a lot of people bring their child out here, so I think maybe it will make them feel safer," Gunn said.

The Woodlands Township is increasing patrols not only by bike but car and foot patrols all over the area.

Earlier this month, an 18-year-old told deputies he was robbed by three men at gunpoint while riding his bike along a trail.

A few days later, investigators say two women were robbed while unloading groceries. While it was not on a trail, deputies say the suspects came from the tree line.

Sgt. Jason Moore says residents can expect to see more presence across the area.

"Just give us a call if you see anything suspicious," Moore said. "It's a team effort between us and the citizens of The Woodlands."

Nelda Blair is the chairwoman of the board for The Woodlands Township. While The Woodlands is known for its beautiful trees and vast ground cover, it can also be a prime hiding place for someone looking to commit a crime.

"The pathways themselves have been a little bit dark sometimes," Blair said. "Some times, folks have said they had a little bit of trepidation about traveling on them for safety and security reasons, and we don't want them to feel that way, so we think the bike patrols will help that."

Dennis Duvall says in the 40 year he's lived in The Woodlands, the beauty has always been a draw.

"We like walking the trails," Duvall said.

But more people can also mean more opportunities for crime.

"Here in these past few years, it seems like it's gotten worse and worse and worse," Duvall. "So yes, I'm glad they are increasing security for the trails."

This year, a new district was created with Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, specifically to serve The Woodlands. About 80 deputies are contracted to serve the area.

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