Residents blame toll road for crime increase in Fort Bend County

Sheriff: Crime up 15 percent in area along Grand Parkway

By Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas - Archana Shrinhande is mom to a 13-month-old girl and said living in Fort Bend County near Katy is ideal. There are beautiful parks, nice neighborhoods and it's smack dab in the middle of the everything.

The Grand Parkway, Shrinhande said, makes getting around the area easy. She can be in Sugar Land or head to the North side in no time at all.

"It's an easy access to both of the areas to us," she said.

But some residents said that accessibility is a problem, claiming it attracts criminals. They've noticed some serious crimes that have taken place recently, including a bank robbery near Cinco Ranch and a shooting in the parking lot of a nearby grocery store.

"It does give easy access between 59 and I-10," said Erma Hart. "We have noticed an increase (in crime) and we're kind of concerned about it."

Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls told Local 2 there has been a slight increase, with 15 percent more crimes in the area along the Grand Parkway compared to this time last year, when the extension wasn't open.

"Can you attribute that increase to the opening of the Grand Parkway toll road? I don't know," Nehls said. "It is easy to commit a crime, hop on the toll road and be able to travel 15 miles and not have to stop at a stop sign or stop light."

Nehls said in about the first seven months of 2013, there was only one aggravated robbery in the area. So far this year, there have been five.

"I don't feel it is a significant problem right now" said Nehls. "We're doing everything we can to address the crime trends we're seeing in a very fast-growing county."

Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.