HOUSTON (KTRK) --Memorial Villages police say there's been a rise in people being robbed as they're leaving banks in the Woodway, Voss and Chimney Rock area.
"We're hearing more and more of our residents that are becoming crime victims outside of our jurisdiction," says Chief J.D. Sanders. "More and more incidents of being on parking lots and being mugged or robbed on parking lots, and becoming crime victims in other places."
Chief Sanders credits his department's top-of-the-line messaging system with keeping the gang activity out of Piney Point, Bunker Hill and Hunter's Creek Villages. But they put out a crime alert to the folks who live there warning that the uptick in crimes some of them have been victims of is part of a new wave of gang initiations.
"Some require you to commit a violent crime. You have to commit a violent crime before you can even be included in the gang," Chief Sanders tells Eyewitness News.
"There's no area that's untouchable. They have the finances. They have the transportation," explains Wesley Jenkins.
Jenkins is a former Crip who turned his life around in prison and now manages several properties in the Houston area.
"I wouldn't go so far as saying it's gang initiation. It might be gang members trying to get finances to buy more drugs or whatever," he said.
Authorities have noticed increased Blood and Crip activity in the Fondren/Westheimer area. And at Westheimer and Tanglewilde, as well as in shopping areas at Westheimer and Gessner, they've seen more of one of the fastest-growing and most violent gangs: Tango Blast.
"These guys are taking a chance knowingly of going to prison. So they're all in," Jenkins says. "So if I'm approached by somebody and they say give me your wallet, and I got my necklace on, I'm giving him everything and I'm going to try to get as far away as fast as possible to get to a safe place where there are other people."
Chief Sanders says he's not trying to scare anyone, but wants his residents and folks all over to watch their surroundings and use their heads if they see something that seems suspect.
"Turn around don't go into danger. Turn around and go back to where the people are and be safe," Sanders said.
There are ways to protect yourself. They seem like common sense, but Chief Sanders says people are becoming victims because they don't follow these: When walking to your car stay off your cell phone, have your keys out and your finger on the panic button. And if you're approached, give them what they want because the gang members are sure to be armed, and almost certainly have someone in a car close by that's armed too.
For more information on what to look for, check out http://www.stophoustongangs.org/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1