The Progress of Abbott’s Local Crime Fighting Plan Is Unclear

Abbott said violent crime in Houston was soaring. He said he had a plan to reduce it. What’s happened since?


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Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw (right) discusses new anti-gang initiative in Harris County.

In April, we reported how the Governor linked Houston's violent crime…to gangs.

"Some drivers of that have dealt with drug trafficking, human trafficking, additional MS-13 members," said Abbott.

He proposed a plan.

It included deploying more state police, establishing a Tactical Operations Center, and a providing half a million dollars in funding.

Most of which was perplexing to some local officials.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said he learned about the Governor's visit when he saw it on the news.

And as to soaring crime?

"They haven't caused any glaring headlines or anything, so I'm not sure where that came from," said Emmett.

One month later, the governor said the plan was working.

He cited 450 arrests that included a couple dozen suspects from what he called highly-organized robbery crews.

But in a statement from the governor, he also cited —- without explanation —- the work of the Harris County Sheriff's office and something called Operation North Star.

According to the Sheriff's department, Operation North Star wasn't exactly a result of Abbott's plan, but rather was a collaboration with DPS that started in April and lasted a month, ending in those arrests that were mostly related to armed robbery.

We asked but had trouble finding anyone to clarify if gang violence has been lowered.

And, there seems to be a disconnect with Houston Police.

HPD Chief Art Acevedo told us in a statement quote:

To date we have not had any direct contact with the Governor’s Office.

Acevedo says that HPD partners with a lot of different agencies and recently dedicated two additional squads to fight violent crime.

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