Housing

Houston Housing Authority to add new security systems across all its properties

The systems are designed to scan license plates to help aid in combating crime, especially involving vehicles which can also provide information that could help law enforcement solve cases.

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Cuney Homes recently opened a food pantry for residents.

A new program aims to tackle crime and increase security for affordable housing residents in Houston. The Houston Housing Authority (HHA) in collaboration with the City of Houston and Flock Safety, a leading provider of License Plate Recognition technology, is installing more than 100 security systems across all HHA properties.

The systems are designed to scan license plates to help aid in combating crime, especially involving vehicles which can also provide information that could help law enforcement solve cases. It enables real-time alerts to law-enforcement whenever vehicles are stolen, suspects are wanted, or when vehicles associated with missing persons or children are detected.

"We wanted to do our part and related to safety, flock cameras not only provide a safe environment for our communities that we serve, but also it helps the police in terms of abductions, car thefts, wanted vehicles, live robberies," said HHA President and CEO, David A. Northern Sr. "We just really want to protect our clients, but also provide an extra level of safety for the citizens in Houston."

HHA supplies affordable homes and services to more than 60,000 low-income residents in Houston. That includes over 19,000 families a part of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, 4,200 living in 22 public housing, mixed income, rental assistance and tax credit development, 716 Houstonians in project based voucher developments.

"I applaud the Houston Housing Authority and Flock Safety for their collaborative efforts to enhance community safety," said Mayor Sylvester Turner in a statement. "This demonstrates a commitment to leveraging technology for the well-being of our residents. By implementing advanced LPR systems, we are advancing the safety and security of our neighborhoods. This initiative aligns perfectly with our city’s mission to create a safer, more prosperous Houston for all,"

The agency said they have a contract with Precinct 6 Constables to patrol all of their properties all while working with the housing authorities’ punishment companies, but more security is needed. The agency has had to deal with crime issues, including stolen vehicles, shootings, and drug activity.

Northern said most of the crime that has happened doesn't involve residents.

"A lot of crime is not created or done by our clients, it’s done by individuals coming from somewhere else on our properties," he said. "Criminals look at a community to operate criminal activity in, and by us having a large community of low income people, seniors, people with disabilities they prey on them."

The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides federal funds for HHA, and the agency budgeted $ 1.7 million to increase safety throughout their communities. The system does not capture individuals or faces, just license plate numbers and vehicle characteristics.

"The Houston Police Department is proud of our collaboration with the Houston Housing Authority as they utilize technology to increase the safety and security for their residents and the City of Houston, Chief Troy Finner HHA. " The implementation of LPR technology across HHA properties will greatly assist our law enforcement efforts in solving crimes and thereby increasing public safety. This innovative technology provides us with a valuable tool that increases HPD's ability to address crime. We appreciate this partnership and remain committed to working together to create One Safe Houston."

The Houston Housing Authority began installing the systems this week and work will be completed within 30 days. The agency said it's working aggressively to get the installations completed especially with school starting back.

Ashley Brown

Ashley Brown

Reporter

Ashley Brown is a news reporter at Houston Public Media, News 88.7. She covers a range of topics, primarily focusing on Houston City Hall. Before moving back to Houston in 2022, she worked at WHQR Public Radio in Wilmington, NC where she covered city and county government, homelessness and community...

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