Is crime creeping into The Woodlands?

February 5, 2010 4:05:51 PM PST
For those who live there, The Woodlands is perceived to be an oasis from the Houston's 'big city' problems, such as crime and pollution. But a recent series of robberies and shootings have many wondering how safe they really are. The Woodlands is now a community of nearly 100,000 people. And with a community that big comes big community crime.

"We live next to the fourth largest city in the nation," said Nelda Luce Blair of The Woodlands. "So of course, we are going to have some city-like crime in this area."

But Thursday's shooting and attempted carjacking at The Woodlands Mall is the latest violent crime to make headlines, and make residents nervous.

"I'm concerned for my safety and I'm going to definitely lock my doors," said Kay Dadonna of The Woodlands.

"You just don't know where you're safe anymore," added resident Josh Howell.

Last month, there was a home invasion and a robbery and shooting; separate crimes just two days apart.

Since June of 2009, there have been 24 reported thefts, 14 burglaries, 4 assaults and 2 robberies.

"We're one of the safest places in the entire region," said Blair. "We're one of the lowest crime rates. Still are; have been for a long time."

The Woodlands has increased its security. By May, there will be 82 Montgomery County sheriff's deputies assigned exclusively to the planned community. Plus, the township is paying for additional overtime patrols seven days a week. That's in addition to multiple private security firms hired to help.

"I think that area that you're talking about takes security very, very seriously," said Lt. Dan Norris with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. "And we have worked very cooperatively and very well with the private sector to do the best job possible."

Despite what appears to some to be a spike in crime, The Woodlands Township maintains safety is its top priority and points to the speed to which Thursday's shooting was responded and the suspect caught.