Houston News : Mayor, HPD, announce new measures to fight violent crime spike

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Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo talks to the media during a press conference at the police station on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 in Houston. Chief Acevedo was updating the media on the investigation on the officer-involved shooting incident at 7815 Harding on January 28 that left the homeowners dead and some police officers injured.

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Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo talks to the media during a press conference at the police station on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 in Houston. Chief Acevedo was updating the media on the investigation on the

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Photo: Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

Photo: Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo talks to the media during a press conference at the police station on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 in Houston. Chief Acevedo was updating the media on the investigation on the officer-involved shooting incident at 7815 Harding on January 28 that left the homeowners dead and some police officers injured.

less

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo talks to the media during a press conference at the police station on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 in Houston. Chief Acevedo was updating the media on the investigation on the

… more

Photo: Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

Mayor, HPD, announce new measures to fight violent crime spike

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced new efforts Tuesday to crack down on an uptick in violent crime, including an overtime allocation of $1.5 million to get more officers on the street and an effort to enlist private money toward an $8.5 million investment in new technology, including cameras and analytics equipment.

The mayor said he expects the combination of those two initiatives to help quell the increase, which Chief Art Acevedo said mirrors a nationwide trend. Acevedo said he’d like to specifically address gang violence and car burglaries.

Crime data provided by Houston police to the FBI show that while overall crime has followed a decades-long downturn, violent crime has increased six percent over the last four years, driven by higher instances of aggravated assaults and rapes.

“We don’t want to wait until we get to a situation where it becomes really a crisis so to speak, we want to check things where they are,” Turner said. “Quite frankly, we need those technology enhancements and we need them right now.”

The mayor said the city is still about 600 officers short of what the department needs, despite personnel increases over the last four years. He called on the private sector to help the cash-strapped city pay for the $8.5 million technology effort when it is ready. The mayor said he has already reached out to some folks about the plan and hopes to be able to announce funding partnerships soon.

The overtime payments are effective immediately and will get more officers on patrol over the next six months.

“The economic vibrancy of a city starts with a safe city,” Acevedo said about asking philanthropy for help. “There’s a lot of people and companies in the city that can write a check, and it’s an accounting error to their bottom line. And so if you want to give a gift to the people of Houston, that will be here and paying dividends long after you’re gone, write that check.”

The department is currently deploying a system provided by ShotSpotter that helps locate the site of gunfire with targeted cameras. That pilot program will be used across five square miles in the southern part of the city, and Acevedo said one aspect of the program he will now develop would be to expand that technology.

Acevedo said there are other programs, including analytics equipment, that would help police search through and digest a large amount of information much quicker.

“When you combine the technology enhancements with the additional overtime of $1.5 million, I think you can see some significant improvements in public safety throughout our entire city,” Turner said.

This is a developing story. Please check back later for more details.



in Houston

Source : chron.com