Woodlands residents concerned about safety

THE WOODLANDS, TX At least once a week Jenny Seales and Shandra Dean bring their kids to Market Street in the Woodlands for lunch and for fun, and they feel safe.

"We're comfortable being here," Dean said. "We don't really like going anywhere else. The kids love it. They can play in the water. There's plenty for the kids to do."

Seales said, "I always see the little security guys on the horses. I like seeing them and the kids enjoy them. I know they're here to protect us and look out for everybody."

That security tops the list of a new survey the Woodlands Township conducted of more than 1,000 residents. The Woodlands Township Chairman Bruce Tough explained, "We want to get the pulse of what our residents are saying about the Woodlands. We want to benchmark our service delivery."

What residents said overwhelmingly was that increased crime prevention and safety are at the top of their priorities. Forty percent listed it -- up a lot from the eight percent who ranked it in 2008. Only once in the last five surveys did it reach double digits.

"Public safety is always number one on everyone's mind. It's number one on my mind," Tough said. "It's number one on the township's mind."

The township says it spent $2.5 million on extra security last year. It has nine districts for contracted patrols with the Montgomery county sheriff's office, Harris county constable, mounted patrol and private security.

"The same issues that were happening 20 years ago are -- issues or concerns I should say -- are the same concerns that people have today," said the Woodlands Township Security Manager Marian Leck.

But just because residents are concerned about safety, it doesn't mean they feel unsafe.

Resident Elaine Vicknair said, "I feel very safe. I think that government that runs this township is doing a really good job."

And that's why, despite any concerns, the Woodlands keeps growing.

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