HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- You may have been noticing more reports of road rage throughout the city of Houston, but the city has a plan of action to lower the violence that they say is already working.
During a news conference held by the Houston Police Department on Thursday, authorities introduced a new initiative aimed at eliminating road rage.
"It's become such a problem," said HPD Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite.
It's a collaborative effort that involves several Houston-area law enforcement agencies, including the Harris County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety. So far this year, Satterwhite said they've received 1,500 calls of reported road rage.
"Now those are not all calls we have crimes behind, but [those are] the calls that have come in," said Satterwhite. "But I will tell you that we have over 100 investigations underway right now involving firearms between our Major Assaults and Family Violence Division and our Homicide Division, working on those types of crimes that have happened just this year."
The initiative announcement comes in the wake of an arrest made after a man was seen pointing a gun at another driver on the East Loop. Police said in that case, the man was arrested two hours after the report was made.
Since the launch of the program last week, HPD said they've seen a 20% drop in road rage calls.
The program focuses on having more officers on some of the busiest traffic areas across the city.
To start, HPD said authorities, who will be in marked and unmarked vehicles, are zoning in on major freeways during rush hour traffic, which is when they say is where and when they're seeing the most cases of road rage.
"We are on all of our freeways and all of our places where this emerges the most, but were everywhere," said Satterwhite. "It's not just the freeways. It's some of our major roads in the city. We're going to be out there."
Authorities will be looking for anyone driving aggressively, honking their horn for no reason, speeding or switching lanes without using the signal. To help drivers become more aware, HPD issued a series of tips to avoid road rage.
In data obtained by ABC13 on Monday, the Harris County Sheriff's Office took 82 reports of road rage in 2019, 63 in 2020, and so far in 2021, they have taken 57.
Those reports do not include aggravated assaults or homicides.
"It's making it harder for people like you or me to drive and go to work or do errands without maybe upsetting someone to the point that they want to take your life," the sheriff's office said.