A Peek at the Public Safety & Security programs of The District
When you shadow a police officer working for The Energy Corridor District you may end up seeing them patrolling restaurant parking lots for car burglars, assisting Houston Police Department (HPD) tactical teams to solve crimes, monitoring school zones for speeding cars or even pedaling alongside bicyclists riding the trails at Terry Hershey Park, helping to keep recreational serenity.
It’s true the frontline of public safety in The Energy Corridor District lies with the off-duty HPD officers working for The District. Those dedicated officers patrolling busy Eldridge Parkway, Grisby Square, Memorial Drive and quieter neighborhood streets are the most visible part of The District’s Security & Public Safety program.
“A safer environment is a more successful environment,” says The District’s Katherine Wallace, who manages the officers, hosts quarterly Security & Public Safety Luncheons and helps coordinate crime-fighting with HPD, local apartment complexes and businesses to create a more secure place.
“We may be known more for our streetscape work, transportation programs and tree-planting program,” Wallace says, “but maintaining and enhancing a safe surrounding is integral to our mission.”
And it’s all about crime prevention, says Wallace, using a “neighborhood-oriented” policing style. The HPD officers patrolling the District are selected because of their interpersonal skills and specialized training in community policing techniques, Wallace explains.
That neighborhood-oriented approach also means The District advocates for and supports local police and fire stations with The City of Houston.
For a visible crime deterrent, District police officers patrol in marked vehicles seven days a week, at least two shifts a day. Several days a week you can find District police officers patrolling nearby trails and trailhead parking lots on bicycles, whether it’s July hot or January cold.
The District team works closely with HPD officers, along with an HPD tactical team for “hot spot” response to crime waves.
Building code violations can also endanger the public so The District works with a neighborhood code enforcement officer to proactively address potential safety and code infringements.
Public safety advocacy is a pivotal part of The District’s approach. Each quarter you can hear firsthand accounts about fighting crime from experts like SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) officers and FBI agents, to experts on active shooters during The District’s free Security & Public Safety Luncheons, hosted at local businesses. The District also holds safety meetings for businesses and apartment complexes.
Residents, employees, property owners, building managers and private security professionals can attend regular meetings of the Positive Interaction Program (PIP) in The District, when HPD officers review current criminal activity, statistics, trends and crime prevention tips. The Differential Response Team (DRT) enforces ordinances and quality of life issues to proactively reduce crime.
And then there’s Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED), which helps The District provide a multi-disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior through environmental design.
The next time you jog past a bicycling District patroller along Langham Creek, feel free to stop and chat about public safety. Or why maybe Lycra and a wrist heart monitor may be more comfortable for riding than an officer’s dark uniform saddled with heavy police equipment.
Fall Recreational Safety Tip:
Parking Lot Lust
It’s hard to ignore the temptation of walking or biking in gorgeous fall weather around the 50 miles of trails in The Energy Corridor. Just don’t tempt the crooks targeting your vehicles.
When you park at a trailhead, park your valuables out of sight.
It’s common sense, but recent police officer checks of vehicles at area parks tell a different tale. Officers have reported expensive smartphones, laptops, tablets and more sitting on seats or floorboards in plain view. And those make for tempting burglary targets.
Crooks know recreational trail users will be gone for a while, giving them time to smash a window and grab your hard-earned gear. Police experts say hiding valuables is a strong deterrent, because these criminals seek immediate reward for the risk.