'Crime can't hide in Sunnyside': Sunnyside community hope new billboard helps lower crime

ByDerrick Lewis via KTRK logo
Saturday, July 2, 2022
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For crimes such as homicides, burglaries, and those drug-related, Sunnyside has one of the highest rates compared to other neighborhoods in the city.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A new billboard targeting criminals is up along the South Loop. City leaders unveiled the billboard in hopes it will lower crime in Sunnyside, and other neighborhoods.

"Crime can't hide in Sunnyside," the sign reads.

People living there want to see their neighborhood turned around.

"It's actually getting worse," Pastor James Nash, who preaches at Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, said.

Nash grew up in Sunnyside, and came up with the idea.

"It takes all of us," Nash said. "You say it takes a village. It takes all of us pastors that are in the area to get involved in this."

City leaders say the billboard is just a start. It will also take the community and police to unite to make a difference.

The Houston Police Department is stepping in to help.

"As police officers, we take that extra step," HPD Officer Mike Collins said. "We reach out to the citizens in the community, because if there's distrust, we're unable to solve the problems that plague our community."

Collins said HPD plans to be more proactive.

"Engaging children young, building those foundations of trust within the community, is imperative and critical," Collins said.

For crimes such as homicides, burglaries, and drug-related crimes, Sunnyside has one of the highest rates compared to other neighborhoods in the city.

Police say other strategies are in place.

"Utilizing officers not in uniform, utilizing officers who are undercover and they coordinate their actions with marked patrol units," Collins said.

City leaders say one in 11 people are victims of crimes in Sunnyside. Nash says the work does not stop with the billboard.

"It's time for the community to reach out and do things themselves," Nash said. "Too often, we reach out to police. Police cannot do this by themselves."