Hello! Crime is bad, mmkay?

So, hello.

I’d like to start out by being uplifting and cheerful, but instead of that, I’m going to ramble about the thing most on my mind.

Crime.

Smarter people than I can determine what percentage of our recent surge in home invasions, shootings and other media-ready events can be attributed to some of the less than the nice elements visiting our fair city after storms destroyed their other criminal turf. As a father and husband who is the one who locks the house up at night and whose path to the front door includes collecting a baseball bat, I spend a lot of my free time thinking of what I can do to ensure the safety of my clan.

In my single days, even though I lived in a rougher neighborhood, I had more and larger dogs and I kept a shotgun next to the bed with a round chambered. While this was admittedly a risky practice, the fact that I lived alone balanced out that risk. When I got married a few years back and bought the current residence, I took more appropriate safety measures to keep the guns out of the reach of kidlets. In the event I have, say 3-5 seconds from door destruction to meeting some uninvited guests, the odds are I’m going to be stepping up to bat rather than meeting them at High Noon.

And that, frankly, isn’t an optimum strategy for taking on a number of armed people likely to be significantly more numerous than I am. So, of course, I made a point to meet the constable who patrols our area, and I make sure the doors are locked. And I ordered a security system. But none of this gives me peace of mind.

Over the Christmas holiday, I proved my naturally superior intelligence by locking my keys in my car and needing assistance in getting the door open. As luck would have it, some of Houston’s finest were nearby and willing to help out. I took advantage of that to ask what we could do to improve security in Houston and I got a shockingly simple answer:

Hire more cops.

When a thousand or so officers take early retirement, it is hard to imagine how the police department can provide anywhere near the same level of policing, no matter how significant the overtime programs are. When an influx of new residents arrives with some percentage of shady characters and miscreants attached, simple math tells us that less police plus more criminals is going to increase crime.

I like parks. I really do. And nice summer activity programs. And I don’t mind it when city employees get legal bonuses they probably more than deserve. And I know the mayor likes his “we know better than you do” programs like Safe Clear and stoplight cameras. But there is one simple thing that can be done to improve this situation.

Hire more cops.

2 Comments so far

  1. adrian (unregistered) on March 24th, 2006 @ 12:16 am

    From one who obsessively patrols his own compound, Much agreed!

    That said, I would like to see traffic violation quotas go down or, better yet, disappear. If police officers were less occupied with making money for the system, there might be more time to patrol the area and, you know, serve and protect.


  2. Serena (unregistered) on March 24th, 2006 @ 7:27 pm

    Fancy seeing you here. ;-)

    I live near the area where the majority of the evacuees have settled and the crime rate has gone up. There are stores I do not visit after dark because I’m afraid for my own safety. There are two police storefronts within a few miles, but those are woefully understaffed. I don’t think the city of Houston will realize the magnitude of the staffing problems facing HPD until it’s too late.



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