Neighbors raise extra funds for added security patrols

Residents concerned about increasing crime are adding additional security forces

September 24, 2013 4:56:04 PM PDT
Recent crime trends in the Oak Forest area have residents and their homeowner's association doing more to beef up security. On top of normal HPD service, neighbors are now considering adding private security as well.

Many residents say they've been taking proactive steps to try curbing crime and they're hoping a constant security presence on theirs streets can help make a difference.

It's a normally quiet community, but like many neighborhoods across Houston, Oak Forest has been getting hit with its fair share of crime recently.

"Because of the rapid growth and development, it's put a lot of challenges on our security program," Oak Forest resident George Dobek said.

From robberies, to burglaries and car break-ins, Houston police patrols the area, but some folks like Dobek feel more needs to done.

"They'll call the police sometimes. Police are rather late in showing up, and there's just this kind of defeatist attitude that kind of develops," he said.

That's why Oak Forest's HOA has been researching security options for months. The group's trying to convince neighbors to pitch in to hire SEAL Security to dedicate extra patrols here.

"We do a vehicle patrol through the communities, but we also are able to get out and do a foot patrol of areas where you cannot get a vehicle," said James Alexander with SEAL Security.

SEAL Security already works with neighborhood groups, apartment complexes and management districts across Houston. And the officers say their presence has been making a significant impact in comparable-sized areas like Sharpstown.

"We've been able to come in and cut their crime stats in half inside the community," Alexander said.

"I don't know how much of an effect it would make on crime, to tell you the truth," Oak Forest resident Jesus Gonzalez said.

And even with some neighbors like Gonzalez on the fence about an outside security company, the Oak Forest HOA is confident it can raise the money to bring in an extra crime fighting tool.

The Oak Forest Homeowners Association is asking about 1,200 neighbors to make a commitment for the security program by October 15. The group's also holding several fundraisers to reach their goal.

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