Judge Hidalgo, Commissioner Ellis, Sheriff Gonzalez discuss anti-crime program designed to lower gun violence in Harris County

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez highlighted the county’s new “Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods” program in a news conference Wednesday morning.

HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez highlighted the county’s new “Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods” program in a news conference Wednesday morning.

The Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods program is a research-based crime prevention and neighborhood safety program that uses data to target neighborhoods where decay and abandonment are a driving force behind gun violence.

People who live at The Palms at Cypress Station say they don’t feel safe. One resident said she adjusts her schedule to make sure she’s home before it gets dark.

“I do all my shopping during the daytime because at nighttime there is so much crime here,” Shirley Seed said. “I don’t feel safe here at all. Period. At all.”

Gonzalez says the area is one of its most violent-prone areas.

“We do heavy enforcement and we saturate,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve tried that strategy, but it simply isn’t enough, that’s how we keep having to come out here.”

These areas are separated by patrol areas:

1. Patrol 1

  • Cypress Station,1960 Kurkendahl

2. Patrol 2

  • Aldine

3. Patrol 3

  • Woodforest, Uvalde
  • Freeport, Normandy

4. Patrol 4

  • Little York, Queenston, Elderidge
  • Morton, Franz Rd., Psalms, Park Row

5. Patrol 5

  • 290/1960 Jones Rd., Mills Rd.
  • West Little York, Gessner Rd.
  • Highway 6, West Rd.
  • Highway 6, West Blvd.

“The families who live here and who live in other areas hit by violent crime deserve to be safe,” said Hildalgo.

The program’s objective is to improve street lighting, sidewalks, and visibility in residential areas. It also aims to restore vacant lots and implement other infrastructure investments and improvements shown to enhance public safety.

“We now live in a country where active shooter drills have become commonplace, where the funerals for police officers killed by assault weapons have become almost routine, where headlines of gun-related road rage incidents seem commonplace, where innocent children who’ve got their whole lives ahead of them are shot and killed and don’t have a chance to grow up,” Hidalgo said. “Where we’re standing here today is a graphic illustration of that challenge.”

In addition to the press conference, there was a demolition of a structure used by drug dealers to hide weapons and narcotics.

“This is an important beginning of using resources to think outside of the box to see what we can do to reduce crime,” Commissioner Ellis said.

“We’re taking serious weapons off our street and we’re going after serious offenders that continue to create violence in our community…” Gonzalez said.

Last October, the Commissioner’s Court approved a $50 million program to combat blighted buildings, dark streets, and unsafe and abandoned structures that serve as incubators of crime and gun violence.