Sharpstown Security

Houston Police have beefed up their presence in the area around Sharpstown Mall on the city's southwest side, and they say it's getting results, with the arrests of nearly three dozen people on serious felony charges. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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The extra officers are members of HPD's Unified Neighborhood Enhancement Team, which has a mobile command center that moves around the city and goes to where the criminals are. This week it's the area around Sharpstown Mall, and Lt. Tim Kubiak says it's working.

"In the last week just out here in West Side, we've had 51 in one week, 51 suspects arrested, and 33 of those are felons. The suspects are dealing drugs, involved in serious crime, auto theft, robbery and murder."

Lt. Kubiak says nearly half those felony arrests were made yesterday, in one day. The Neighborhood Enhancement Team has moved to Sharpstown because it's a high-crime area, with a lot of apartments and highly transient population. He says their success in arresting people feeds on itself, because law abiding people are coming forward with anonymous tips on where to find the criminals. He says he has nothing but praise for this approach to fighting crime.

"And it's because if we take an area and we initially had a certain amount of officers, and we bring 30 officers from other stations who are highly trained and highly qualified, and we go in and hit our hot spots out here, we're gonna arrest people we couldn't without there help. So yes I do believe it's effective."

Lt. Kubiak says increasing police presence and visibility in high crime areas really works, and the proof of that is in the numbers of people going to jail. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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