Gov. Abbott's new plan to fight gang violence in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Governor Greg Abbott held a news conference in Houston on Monday to announce a crackdown on Houston-area gang violence.

However, Abbott did not include any Houston law enforcement officials in his announcement.

Instead, the governor was flanked by the FBI and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Abbott said he will deploy new resources to help Houston law enforcement eliminate gang violence.

"Gang problem has become an issue in the whole Houston area, not just isolated incidents or a block or two that may be claimed as turf," said the governor, who made his announcement at DPS headquarters on West Road, where a new task force will be located.

Abbott announced a plan to provide $500,000 in new funding from the Governor's Criminal Justice Division to help increase anti-gang resources in Houston and Harris County.

The governor also said he would deploy additional DPS personnel and Texas Rangers to help bolster local efforts in the fight against gangs. But will crime victims actually come forward?

DPS Director Steve McCraw said many victims of gangs, like MS13, are undocumented.

"The first and most susceptible victim is always going to be those here from the migrant community, here illegally, period," said McCraw.

Last week, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo made a public plea for all crime victims, regardless of immigration status to come forward. The chief said that reporting of violent crimes by Latinos has actually declined. He is worried that concerns about immigration are causing the decline.

"We are here for the victims and the witnesses. We're not ICE agents, we're not interested in being ICE agents," Acevedo said at the time.

When asked about those comments, Governor Abbott said the crackdown on gangs is not related to immigration, despite McGraw's statement that immigrants are often the most likely victims.

"This is not a one-off type crime; this is organized crime, across a wide scale area. It's the type of crime where we're not going to be relying upon a tip from some person out there, who may be here illegally," Abbott said.

When asked how those worried about deportation should report gang violence they see, the governor suggested, "crime report hotline, people can call to CrimeStoppers to make sure there is anonymity."

ABC13 reached out to HPD over the governor's gang initiative, and Monday afternoon Chief Acevedo released a supportive statement:

"Support from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor's Office to reduce violent gang crime shows support to the hard-working men and women of our federal, state and local law enforcement community who dedicate themselves each day to serve our citizens through crime prevention, response and assistance. Continued community engagement with citizens coupled with transparency, accountability and coordination with our partners will serve to strengthen our crime reduction efforts. Also, I want to take a moment and continually remind all Houstonians that if you or someone you know or love is a victim of a crime please report that crime to the Houston Police Department regardless of immigration status. We are interested in solving crimes and helping build strong communities and great relationships."

Earlier, there was still some questions as to what he would discuss, and whether it might be tied to any developments in the Asst. Chief Deputy Clint Greenwood case.

The governor called Greenwood a "Texas hero" and thanked investigators who worked to solve the deputy constable's murder.

WATCH: Abbott remembers Greenwood's service to law enforcement
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott addresses the investigation into Asst. Chief Deputy Clint Greenwood's murder

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