Friday, May 9, 2008

Home Invasions in Neighboring Villages Concern Residents

We’ve just learned that there were three homes next door to each other in Kingwood Lakes that were broken into last week. The police caught the burglar in the third house. You may also have heard about the home invasion on April 28 in Elm Grove where a woman was stabbed, but survived.

Some residents wonder: are we seeing an increase in crime in Kingwood? So we hunted around and found data that shows it did increase in 2007. (See link below.)

So, what are the Houston Police doing about it? Apparently they're trying to beef up coverage in Kingwood. We found reports generated by the South Woodland Hills Safety Committee that shed some insight into discussions with HPD at the Kingwood Public Safety Committee. (We provide key points below.)

Kings Forest is represented on the Kingwood Public Safety Committee by Richard Badoian, board member from Section 2 who was reelected by longterm board members Howard Pitman and Bob Braun in Monday’s board meeting to handle safety. Residents and committee members are not too happy about this.

There have been several animated discussions at board meetings in the past year, where residents and committees asked Badoian to provide better and more timely information than his current one-liner verbal report of two-month old data. Given our email capabilities and his linkage with the Safety Committee and HPD, the residents reasoned we should be able to get more timely alerts when incidents occur. (Badoian has not originated any of the security alerts that KF residents have received in the past year.) At Monday's board meeting, Badoian reasserted that he will not change his current practices. Board President Howard Pitman doesn't disagree with him.

So we encourage Kings Forest residents to email us at immediately if they become aware of a security incident in neighboring villages. You've been our best source to date.

Here are interesting facts from other sources:

Kingwood Crime Rate
Click on Houston Crime Maps. In the lower right corner, click on “Historical” to view data from 2004-08.

HPD Beat Files
Crimes are reported monthly at the Houston Police Beat files. Look for Kingwood. If you click on one of the beats, such as, a map will come up with the crimes shown as little balloons. Click on one of the balloons, and the crime will pop up with the home address. Use the scroll bar on the left to expand the map and you can see the exact location of the home and street.

You’ll be able to see, for example, that there was a burglary of a motor vehicle right across from Shady Run on Kings River Ct. on Saturday, March 13, at 10:18 a.m.

So. Woodland Hills Safety Reports
From the South Woodland Hills reports we learned:
- A tactical unit was assembled in November 2007 to patrol Kingwood in areas of particular concern, such as burglary of motor vehicles.
- There have been staffing problems: the night shift was particularly hard hit by a loss of personnel, reported in November 2007 at 17 compared to 34 in 2000. In total, the Kingwood station has 69-70 officer assigned to it. This is compared to 88 officers assigned to Kingwood in 2001.
- Also reported in November: there was one bike patrolman on the evening shift (2:00 pm to 10:00 pm) and 6 bike patrolmen in the daytime shift (7:00 am to 3:00 pm).
- In March 2008, the night lieutenant assigned to Kingwood expressed the aim to reduce crime in Kingwood to what it was about 12 years ago. Sgt. Pearson of the Tactical Unit wants to hear from the public regarding where the police should be watching for drug activity, robberies, gang activities, etc. Citizens can call their tips to 281-913-4500.

PIP Meetings in Kingwood
In addition, we’ve discovered there’s a meeting that’s open to the general public related to Kingwood safety at 7:00 pm on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at Kingwood Church of Christ, 2901 Woodland Hills Drive. It’s a monthly HPD Positive Interaction Program (PIP) at which representatives from the police and fire departments are available to answer questions. HPD also shares crime stats for Kingwood at these meetings.