Website targets Houston's most wanted gang members

Author: Robert Arnold, Investigative Reporter, rarnold@kprc.com
Published On: Apr 11 2012 06:06:34 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 11 2012 06:29:07 PM CDT
Stop Houston Gangs Website
HOUSTON -

During a rare gathering of the heads of every branch of law enforcement in the Houston area, an announcement was made as to how police are redoubling their efforts and turning up the heat on some of the city's most wanted gang members.

The announcement was made at Tidwell Park in northeast Houston. That spot was specifically chosen because an anonymous tip from the area helped police eventually arrest 140 gang members on various crimes.

"We will respond with the thunder of God that you've seen brought to this community," Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said.

The anonymous tip that helped lead to that response came through a website named StopHoustonGangs.org.

"One person was fed up with crime and these criminal gangs," Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland said.

FBI officials report since this website was launched in September 2010 it has received 803 anonymous tips which led to 244 arrests.

Last February, Local 2 Investigates reported that there are approximately 12,000 documented gang members in the area and how gang crime jumped six percent last year in the city.

"All that pays, robbing, killing, it's all the same you know, kicking down doors," an admitted gang member told Local 2 during an interview last February.

This is why the website is adding new features in the hunt for wanted gang members. Law enforcement has created a top 10 most wanted list specifically devoted to gang members.

"The bad guys will not, will not, will never win," said Javier Pena, special agent-in-charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Houston Field Office.

Digital and poster billboards have also been donated by Clear Channel Outdoor to help feature the website and to feature a new most wanted gang member every week. 

These added initiatives are designed to spur anonymous tips from the public about gang activity in neighborhoods.

"You hear people talk about it all the time, information is power," said Stephen Morris, special agent-in-charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Houston Office. "Often times it proves to be that missing link in a case that has puzzled agencies for years at a time."