With just a few months left in 2010, statistics show there has been less overall crime in Houston this year compared to last year. If you look at violent crime the news is even better. Murders are down almost ten percent. Rapes and robberies are down 13 and 15 percent. Police Chief Charles McClelland gives the credit to his department’s ability to work better with the community.
“The community must have trust and build meaningful partnerships with the men and women at HPD to be effective in reducing crime and I think that has worked. The community has shown confidence in giving us information. They’ve been our eyes and ears in the community.”
Chief McClelland says his department is also trying new things, thinking outside the box that law enforcement has found itself stuck in the past. One example he cites was the use of different units within the department to help a captain who was seeing a rash of robberies in his area.
“He committed some patrol resources; the robbery captain committed some investigative resources; vice, narcotics captains committed some resources and we got the business community involved. So the entire police community effort made a difference.”
Mayor Annise Parker is happy to hear the news of crime dropping in the Houston, but is very unhappy the police budget will take a ten million dollar hit thanks to voters saying no to red light cameras in Tuesday’s election. Like the chief, Parker likes the idea of fighting crime in non-traditional ways.
“I’m just leaving a meeting where there was a great deal of discussion about the use of private surveillance cameras and how the police department can make use of that data, so we’re glad violent crime is down in all categories, but we’re not satisfied with that we’re going to keep after it.”
Mayor Parker was adamant that no officers would be laid off despite the large budget shortfall. Parker and Chief McClelland plan to use every officer in every way they can to drive crime even lower, even if they’re not completely sure how they’ll pay for it.