Crooks on Alert: Denver Harbor Gets Police Storefront

Crimefighting in Houston’s Denver Harbor neighborhood is about to get a boost with the addition of a police store-front and additional officers. The area is also the target of a crime initiative that’s hitting gang and drug-dealing hot spots. Houston Public Radio’s Jack Williams reports.

It’s no secret Denver Harbor, just northeast of downtown, isn’t the safest neighborhood around. Crime in the mostly Hispanic area has been steady over the years. But a new police storefront manned by HPD and Harris County Precinct Six deputies could change that. Constable Victor Trevino says the partnership is historic.

“We’ve always worked together, but not on an actual logistic basis. I know they’re doing some undercover work. We’re not going to interfere, but we’re there to send our patrol officers to assist them when they’re ready to make the arrest. We know that certain areas have a certain trend, whether it’s gang activity. We’re going to work with them there.”

You’re going to have a hard time convincing Abel Alvarez anything will change in Denver Harbor though. He’s lived there for almost 60 years.

“I drive down the freeway. I’m here in the morning and I hardly see a patrol car. Really. This is a fact. Ask the neighbors. Like yesterday morning. I was walking around the park. This lady says there’s a gang over there. I wanted to tell the patrol officers to go check them out. We need more police officers in the city of Houston.”

Alvarez isn’t the only one who doubts the new efforts. Others say they they’ll see an increased presence for a while, but then expect it to go away. Houston Police Captain Dale Brown says that won’t happen.

“I can tell you since January we’ve been using tactics out here that you’re not going to see. We’ve been doing them for over a month. The crime rate in this area is already down over ten percent
just in the last 30 days. We’re not satisfied with that. We’re going after at least ten more percent or beyond that.”

James Rodriguez is a new Houston city councilman. He was able to get the storefront opened within his first two months in office. He says it’s his job now to continue the police presence in Denver Harbor.

“I do have the commitment from the mayor to continue to focus resources out here. We’ve increased the overtime and the police presence and I’m going to make sure it stays that way and that’s not lip service. That’s my job as a city councilmember is to listen to the constituents and to come out and to make sure that we’re doing what we need to do at the city level.” 

The new storefront is at the Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center.