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Sheriff holds Community Crime Watch meeting

SGT. HALL of the Sheriff’s office presents the main talk to the audience, about a Home Security Review to deter crimes in the neighborhood. Seated behind Hall are the organizers of the Crime Watch event, Julie Baer and David Baer.
SGT. HALL of the Sheriff’s office presents the main talk to the audience, about a Home Security Review to deter crimes in the neighborhood. Seated behind Hall are the organizers of the Crime Watch event, Julie Baer and David Baer.

NORTH SHORE – Concerned about the incidents of crime in their neighborhood, and wanting more interaction with the local Sheriff ’s office, two private citizens took it upon themselves to organize a night of talks and exhibits with the Deputies of the Sheriff ’s office, last Monday night at the North Shore Rotary Pavilion on Wallisville, beside the Courthouse Annex.

Julie and David Baer, and over 100 residents of various neighborhoods, from Highlands to North Shore to Galena Park showed up at the meeting, and the Sheriff provided about 50 officers, 15 Explorers, and major equipment displays to help explain the department’s capabilities.

Deputy Hall started the series of talks, outlining various techniques to improve security and safety from crime, including a Home Security Review, a Coffee with the Cops program, and free Gun Locks that were distributed that evening. Hall explained that the department will visit your home on request, and conduct the safety review, which will include lighting, shrubbery, alarms, and door and window locks. He explained these are the first line of defense against being a crime victim. He explained that he knows the North Shore area very well, growing up their and always being assigned to the area. When not pursuing crimes, he is also busy with nuisance abatement assignments, but he cautioned that these cases take time to prosecute and see areas cleaned up.

The next speaker was Capt. Joel Inocencio, the patrol captain for District 3. He explained that he has 120 deputies on his staff, and a very effective ProActive Task Force patrol unit. Since formed in 2012, they have filed 924 charges, and put 682 felons in jail, he noted.

Inocencio told of the work on preventing and solving business robberies, with 72 arrests since the beginning of the year. He also noted that in the next two weeks the department will open a Storefront Sheriff’s office in Highlands, in the Woodforest Bank building, that will be open 5 days a week for citizens to come in for information and reports.

Inocencio noted that he has two “ghost” police cruisers working on traffic arrests, and they wrote over $250,000 traffic tickets last year.

He also mentioned the work of the Explorer’s Post 43, under the supervision of Deputy Brian Goldstein, a program to prepare youth for careers in law enforcement.

He also recommended that residents consider signing up for the Police Citizens Academy to learn more about the department.

Sgt. Eddie Rivera, head of the Joint Task Force, with the Constable’s department, talked about their effort to be proactive rather than reactive. He said that cell phone stores have become a favorite target of robbers, but that his unit has captured 13 so far this year. Other targets that they watch are Ford trucks, and ATM machines.

Becky Moon, a citizen affiliated with CAP, or Citizens Police Academy, urged the public to sign up for this worthwhile learning experience.

Other crime fighting programs that citizens can take advantage of are “IWATCH HARRISCOUNTY.COM” and a Ride-Along program.

Deputy Brian Goldstein introduced his Explorer Post 43 troop, and explained the rigorous training and experiences they get in real police events. When these young men and women are 21 years old, they can go on to the Police Training Academy to prepare for a law enforcement job.

Capt. Ken Melancon, head of the HCSO investigation unit, explained the work of his department, and how the public can help solve crimes by reporting what they see, “SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING.”

Melancon noted that the robbery rate in Harris County is higher than anywhere else in the U. S., bue to the activities of the cartels in the drug trade. But a new computer program, called Eyewatch, is expected to help keep neighborhoods safer by letting residents talk to each other about suspicious activities.