Chief Hurtt's multi-faceted crime-fighting plan

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Recently Chief Hurtt gave a speech where he detailed some new crime-fighting plans (via the Chronicle):

New programs include creating a new police division in the Westside area, an anti-gang initiative and overtime programs. Hurtt spoke about the crime-fighting plans Tuesday in a speech at the Citywide Positive Interaction Program.


Hurtt also mentioned several other ongoing programs the department is working on.

The new red light camera program is under way and motorists who run red ligths will be ticketed with a $75 fine. In the first week, cameras were up at 10 intersections and police identified 600 violations.

On the technology front, Hurtt said the department is developing a 24-hour call information center to monitor criminal activity and pass information on to the divisions to more quickly shift officers from anywhere in the city to the location of an ongoing crime.

The department is also developing an online crime reporting system.

Hurtt said the department is also trying to get three ordinances through City Hall. The ordinances would hold apartment complex owners responsible for crimes committed on their property; drop weeknight curfew for juveniles from midnight to 10 p.m.; and a graffiti abatement measure.

That one ordinance Hurtt is trying to get passed, the one that punishes apartment owners for criminal activity on their property, is really underhanded. The city of Houston encouraged apartment owners to take in Katrina evacuees last year, and this is how the chief wants to thank them. Very nice.

There is one new policy Chief Hurtt failed to mention as this meeting. KHOU-11 got hold of an internal HPD memo that says officers will now have to handle DWI arrests differently:

It’s a memo some say means officers will be forced off the streets to take care of paperwork they’ve been handing off to others.


The paperwork can take longer on a DWI than on a murder case.

So Tuesday, as Marticiuc was reading the department’s new policy, which requires the patrol officers to carry the case almost to the cell door, some patrol officers were telling 11 News they’d write fewer DWIs in the future.

KHOU’s story is a bit light on specifics; maybe a local journalist will explore this new policy more in-depth to find out what’s really going on.

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.