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East End Businesses To Learn How Environmental Design Can Cut Crime

Business owners in Houston's East End are getting more tips this evening on how to protect themselves. A crime prevention symposium will focus on how environmental design can keep criminals from striking. David Pitman reports.


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According to the Houston Police Department, both violent and non-violent crime in the East End dropped more than 20 percent last year.  That’s a bigger drop than the city as a whole.  But there’s still room for improvement.  Hedy Wolpa is with the Greater East End Management District, which is partnering with HPD to hold occasional meetings for business owners on how to protect themselves and their customers.

“We’re pleased with the East End’s decrease in crime, thanks to the work of HPD and the Constable’s office here.  And this is a way for us to bring together our business owners so that they have an opportunity to hear about ways they can further deter crime.”

Tonight’s meeting focuses on crime prevention through environmental design.  Wolpa says most of the ideas are simple and cheap — such as removing posters from windows to improve visibility, and making sure all the lights are working.  Also, landscaping can make a difference.

“Thorny and bristly type plants — cactus or yucca, things like that, around your doors and entryways and underneath windows so that criminals are not likely to gain easy access.”

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Wolpa says, as part of this crime reduction effort, law enforcement officers are willing to make site visits to businesses to make sure their surroundings are the least likely to encourage crime.  Tonight’s symposium begins at 6 at Ripley House on Navigation Blvd.