Uniformed officers on foot are going door to door in an area of southwest Houston that is enduring a rise in crime. What officers are passing on to residents of the Happy Village apartments is to be proactive and not give thieves any easy targets.
"Pay attention to leaving your valuables in the car, like your laptop, cell phone or GPS," said Sgt Rick Ramos with the Houston Police Department. "Also make sure your windows are rolled up all the way and make sure your doors are always locked."
Our exclusive Crime Tracker shows there is in fact a spike in crime in both areas that officers are focused on. The Park Glen and Ranchester areas in 2009 saw a big jump in burglaries -- up more than 27 percent. Crimes of opportunity like unforced entries, where a door or window was left open or unlocked are also up more than eight percent. Officers say keeping items of value out of plain view and doors and windows locked makes it a bit tougher for crooks, which is actually a deterrent for them.
Sgt. Ramos said, "Criminals look for something easy to steal and if it's a challenge for them, then they are going to go on to the next potential victim."
As the men in blue keep knocking, at least one local leader hopes residents might meet a few new faces.
"The best way to prevent crime is to know your neighbor," advised Council Member Al Hoang. "If they watch out for one another that is the best thing."
Hoang has also requested more HPD patrols in the neighborhood.