HPD: Crime in popular Midtown area on the rise

June 12, 2011 3:52:05 PM PDT
It's a popular spot for Houstonians to hang out, live and have fun, but some are worried that crime is becoming a problem. Nestled between Downtown and the Medical Center, Midtown touts itself as Houston's happening, pedestrian-friendly urban hot spot.

"A lot of young professionals live here. [There are] really great bars, restaurants," Midtown resident Stefanie Greis said.

With all of that around-the-clock activity and growth has come an unwelcome spike in violent crime.

According to the Houston Police Department, there have been 236 aggravated assaults since the beginning of this year. That's a 24 percent jump from this time last year.

"After 2:30[am], once it's kind of dispersed, I could see how it could be a problem," patron Nick Pazos said.

Walking around Midtown, it wasn't hard to find people who've witnessed it.

"We did have someone that was held up across the street at gunpoint," said Wilbert Williams, manager at Komodo Pub.

"She was held up at gunpoint," said Kevin Cullinan, describing the robbery of his friend. "She forked over what she had. She didn't resist, she wasn't hurt."

James Stephens lived it -- in his own home.

"I jump up out of bed and I look and there's a dark shadow on the ground, and I lean in to get a closer look, and it stood up," Stephens described. "It's always a concern for us [now]."

David Robinson with the Neartown Association is calling for aggressive planning to keep up with Midtown's rapid expansion.

Already, the territory where constables can patrol has widened. He says ignoring the recent upswing in crime would threaten neighborhoods.

"We have to work with HPD [and] we have to work with our constables [to] figure out where it's coming from," Robinson said.

The numbers we were given are only for January through April. May and June crime numbers aren't out yet.

The Neartown Association has a meeting with law enforcement Monday night to review the latest crime statistics.

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