Gov. Abbott announces action to combat gang crime in Houston

HOUSTON – Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new operation Monday to crack down on gang-related violent crime in Houston and Harris County.

Abbott said he will direct state resources to reduce violent crime in the county, with collaboration with the FBI and other local law enforcement agencies, by establishing a tactical operations center in Houston.

"This recent wave of senseless violence cannot continue," Abbott said. "Government's foremost responsibility is to keep our citizens safe and secure. Texas will take action and use all lawful means to put an end to this lawlessness."

VIDEO: Watch full Gov. Abbott speech

The state will also provide $500,000 in funding from the Governor's Criminal Justice Division to increase Texas Anti-Gang Center resources; deploy more Texas Rangers and DPS Special Agents to support local law enforcement; and deploy air assets and patrol unit tracking, Abbott said.

Houston police chief Art Acevedo released a statement that read, "Support from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor's Office to reduce violent gang crime shows support to the hard working men and women of our federal, state and local law enforcement community who dedicate themselves each day to serve our citizens through crime prevention, response and assistance. Continued community engagement with citizens coupled with transparency, accountability and coordination with our partners will serve to strengthen our crime reduction efforts.  Also, I want to take a moment and continually remind all Houstonians that if you or someone you know or love is a victim of crime please report that crime to the Houston Police Department regardless of immigration status.  We are interested in solving crimes and helping build strong communities and great relationships."

According to the governor's office, Harris County's violent crime rate increased by more than 10 percent in 2016. The county has the highest population of repeat violent offenders in the state and there are more gang members (20,000 in at least 300 gangs) than any other county in Texas, the governor's office said.

Gov. Abbott in Houston making announcement on law enforcement efforts concerning gangs/violent crime.

Posted by KPRC2 Syan Rhodes on Monday, April 10, 2017

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