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Residents From Neighborhoods In Southwest Houston Ask The City For A Civility Ordinance

HPD says residents have seen an increase of vagrants aggressively panhandling.

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The HPD report indicates the intersection of South Main at Holmes is a dumping area for a homeless camp.
The HPD report indicates the intersection of South Main at Holmes is a dumping area for a homeless camp.
A group of people sit at one of the comers near the intersection of South Post Oak and West Bellfort.
A group of people sit at one of the comers near the intersection of South Post Oak and West Bellfort.

Residents of some southwest Houston neighborhoods want protection from aggressive panhandlers and are asking City Council to intervene.

The Greater South Post Oak/West Bellfort Coalition has submitted a petition for the Council to consider establishing a civility ordinance, which would make it illegal to sit or lie down on a sidewalk between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

In this case, the ordinance would include parts of North Braeswood Boulevard, South Main Street and Chimney Rock.

A report by the Houston Police Department (HPD) says the residents have observed an increase of homeless persons in the area, as well as of vagrants who are "selling or using drugs."

There are also complaints about public urination and aggressive panhandling.

"We can’t walk through this area now. Older residents that wanna come to Kroger can’t come across the sidewalk," Becky Edmondson told the Council during its Wednesday public session.

Edmonson is co-president of the Westbury Super Neighborhood and president of the Westbury Civic Club.

HPD's report cites several statistics, including a 200 percent increase in calls for service due to incidents of urination and public lewdness from 2015 to 2016.

Mayor Sylvester Turner says he understands the residents' concerns.

"They wanna see the criminal element reduced. People are being much more aggressive in their behavior," Turner commented after the Council's meeting.

There is no guarantee the City Council will grant the civility ordinance, but they did approve one for the Near Northside neighborhood last October after the murder of 11 year-old Josué Flores.

 

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