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Two Reagan High Students robbed at gunpoint

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Yeah, the local interweb is buzzing about it, calm and delightful gun rights discussion to follow...

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From 2011 to 2012, B&Es doubled in the Heghts while most other crime stats continued on with a steady decline. Most of the crimes were smash and grabs from vehicles and stealing unsecured bikes from garages. HPD saw it as a problem of people being careless and leaving valuables in their vehicles and did little to step up patrols to catch the crooks. While it is certainly true that the crimes were preventable, the lack of HPD response has given the Heights a reputation as being easy pickings, following a similar pattern as the Midtown/Montrose area. HPD needs to come out in force in the Heights and make it clear to crooks that the Heights are off limits.

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Your data appears to be incorrect. There were 319 burglaries in the Heights police beat during 2011. That increased to 266 in 2012, a 14.7% increase (nowhere near double). Almost all of that increase occurred during January 2012, when approximately 60 burglaries were committed. The burglary rate has plummeted in 2013, from 30.5 per month to 22 per month, a 27.9% DECREASE. Burglaries overall increased for a 4 month period from October 2011 to January 2012. Otherwise, they have stayed in the 20 per month range.

 

 

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I actually agree with S3MH the lack of response from hpd coupled with the fact that more liberal neighborhoods tend to be disproportionately unarmed makes the heights a perfect place for an easy crime or 10. The grid street pattern certainly doesn't deter either.

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Twenty years ago, this place was wall to wall blue cruisers 24/7.  Lanier had just taken over and made inner city rejuvenation one of his goals starting with crime reduction. Things got better for a decade or so, flattened out and now we seem to be at a tipping point.  HPD has definitely de-emphasized the Heights compared to the past, just using visibility as metric.  I think the problem is another signpost of political castration from the City of Houston.  Until the political winds change, it's up to us to fix the problem.

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Alleyways can also pose a problem. It's easy to get in and out without a great deal of attention. HPD is a calls for service driven organization, so keep calling. I would also recommend having a townhall type event every time something makes the news. (Students robbed on 11th would be a good example)

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Calling HPD really helps increase the number of cruisers you see. When we lived in Midtown, every time we called the police, we called from each of our land lines and from our cell phones. It made a difference.

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I actually agree with S3MH the lack of response from hpd coupled with the fact that more liberal neighborhoods tend to be disproportionately unarmed makes the heights a perfect place for an easy crime or 10. The grid street pattern certainly doesn't deter either.

 

Did you notice that the victims were school children?  I am sure you are aware that you must be 21 to carry in Texas, so there is no point to fantasize about an old fashion shootout.

 

Since the victim can neither vote nor carry arms, what is the point you are trying to make?

Perhaps that armed children would make us safer?

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....

Since the victim can neither vote nor carry arms, what is the point you are trying to make?

Perhaps that armed children would make us safer?

Here we go!  "Myrtle, hold my calls.....and get me some popcorn dang it."

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These were broad daylight armed robberies... not exactly the standard vehicle smash and grab of the heights.  I don't think this is a trend for the area, but more of a one off group of desperate losers who will quickly be caught.  I see a rather large police presence in the Heights... but I do live on a block that is sort of overlapped by two beats so we get both patrols. 

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Most of the crime in the Heights that has been part of the recent spike has been the kind of crime that avoids any chance for confrontation with a homeowner or resident.  Crooks in Houston know that there is a good chance that homeowners are armed.  Thus, they are primarily doing smash and grabs with vehicles late at night, b/e on a residence during the day when no one is home, or raiding garages and porches when no one is around.  My point is that when you let this kind of crime thrive, it is only a matter of time before the hard core hoods get word that there is little police presence in the neighborhood and you see a rise in more serious stuff. 

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Did you notice that the victims were school children?  I am sure you are aware that you must be 21 to carry in Texas, so there is no point to fantasize about an old fashion shootout.

 

Since the victim can neither vote nor carry arms, what is the point you are trying to make?

Perhaps that armed children would make us safer?

 

My point had nothing to do with the kids at all...I am not advocating arming school kids....all school kids are indeed easy targets.  As are all patrons coming out of a bar, or any other place that legally prohibits firearms from being carried on their property. 

 

My point is pretty simple really.  The Heights as an entire demographic area is disproportionately liberal.  Liberals as a whole tend to be anti-gun, and therefore disarmed.  The Heights therefore is an easier target.  S3MH's concern about crime being more than just smash/grab escalating is legitimate.  Getting away with a crime emboldens you to commit another.  HPD does not even pretend that they are going to solve any of the crimes in the area thus the crime is escalating and it is just a matter of time before it becomes more than just petty smash grab, and we see more of these armed robberies.  The only  effort made by HPD to solve a crime is to rely upon a pawn shop to report serial numbers and drivers license numbers correctly.  That isnt happening consistently so pretty much everything is unsolved.

 

What makes the Heights an easier place to rob than perhaps anywhere else in Houston?

 

1.  Location - its close to I-10, 610, and 45. 

2.  Street Grid/alleys - lots of escape routes and literally hundreds of ways to access a freeway.

3.  Demographics

     a)  Liberals - tend to be disarmed, thus low risk of armed confrontation.

     B)  Dual income households - most households have nobody home during the day

     c)  Poor police presence - HPD does not have the man power to patrol the area sufficently

     d)  Income - Higher income = nicer things

     e)  Rapid appreciation means that the Heights is still more economically diverse than other affluent areas, allowing people who are up to no good to blend in with those who   are still holding onto their homes.

 

The Heights is great, but pretending the crime is not a real problem is just putting your head in the sand.  Something has to be done to curb the crime before it truly gets out of control. 

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We as a community need to be on our watch more.  I'm personally responsible for the arrest of a few people (called the cops and they showed up VERY quickly) because of my late night tendencies and my constant looking outside when I hear noises.  One of the guys I caught was a habitual offender and was responsible for a plethora of burglaries just on my block alone.  I'm not saying we don't need more police presence, but meeting and organizing with your neighbors to make a community effort to help the police will make better progress stopping these kinds of crimes.  As you stated, these are mostly opportunity crimes.  I've seen many times where someone is walking down the street (instead of the sidewalk) and checking door handles to see if they are locked.  If there are cops around they obviously won't do this... but they will simply wait until they aren't there.  The real issue is these people just get slapped on the wrist when caught.  The guy I caught had an arrest record of over 18 convictions.  (i had to go to court because the fool wouldn't plea down and I got subpoena'd).  Several of his arrests for drugs or burglary he didn't even spend more than a month in jail.  Rediculous.  If you knew that you would spend serious time (years) behind bars for breaking in to a car or detached garage then you'd probably think twice about it.

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Mark,

 

Do you really think these criminals give one crap about whether or not who they are robbing is liberal or conservative?  Do you think they pull up a map of politcal affiliation and decide where they are going to rob based on poll data?  Give me a break dude.  They break into your car because they are walking by and see something in your car and nobody around.  This ain't the damn wild west either... if someone jumps out of a car with a gun drawn and wants your cell phone... it doesn't really matter if you have a gun or not... all you are going to do is get yourself shot.  I'm all for gun rights, I own several, but your vision is highly dillusional.  Now if you hear someone trying to break into your house and you get your gun and wait on them... thats a bit of a different story.

Edited by SilverJK
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Mark,

 

Do you really think these criminals give one crap about whether or not who they are robbing is liberal or conservative?  Do you think they pull up a map of politcal affiliation and decide where they are going to rob based on poll data?  Give me a break dude.  They break into your car because they are walking by and see something in your car and nobody around.  This ain't the damn wild west either... if someone jumps out of a car with a gun drawn and wants your cell phone... it doesn't really matter if you have a gun or not... all you are going to do is get yourself shot.  I'm all for gun rights, I own several, but your vision is highly dillusional.  Now if you hear someone trying to break into your house and you get your gun and wait on them... thats a bit of a different story.

 

No I dont think a thief cares about the political affiliation at all, but I do think they target areas where they are less likely to encounter resistance.  These people are not complete idiots - they make a living committing crimes and they are paying attention. 

 

Yes lots of this is smash/grab but lots of it is well planned.  They case neighborhoods, they have lookouts, they watch who is coming/going.  This is not pure opportunity crime any longer.  These criminals do pay attention to their surroundings.  More so than most people living in them. 

 

I don't live in a dream world.  If I were the kid, I would have given up my cell phone faster than you could blink an eye...Im not some wild west wanna be - Its just factual.  The heights is an easy target b/c of the reasons I posted.  Its time it gets cleaned up before it spirals out of control.

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The heights is an easy target b/c of the reasons I posted.  Its time it gets cleaned up before it spirals out of control.

 

To be quite honest, I think it is probably a gang related thing.  I walked to metro mart last night and there is some gang graffiti in the exact spot where the kid got robbed.  If you really look around, the heights is absolutely coverd in gang graffiti.

 

That plus beverly between 11th and 12th1/2 has a whole string of low rent and really run down apartments. 

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We need more police presence and more vigilant neighbors that actually are aware of who lives next to, across the street and behind them. We also need a communication strategy to keep residents informed. The availability of social media for the local neighborhood is virtually non-existent with the exception of a few general boards. I would gladly pay dues to the HHA if they had a neighborhood bulletin board with alerts. The constable program is an attempt but I truly believe "the feet on the ground" can be much more efficient in dettering hoodlum crime and vandalism as it occurs.

I was very disappointed the elitists in WH forced the community to join an exclusive board available only to members in their subdivision mainly due to the immediate alert when our local community was under siege. It also served as a reminder to always be alert and all types of crimes were posted. We did not have to wait for the "if it bleeds it leads" stories to wake us from our gentrified slumber.

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I was very disappointed the elitists in WH forced the community to join an exclusive board available only to members in their subdivision mainly due to the immediate alert when our local community was under siege....

Gimme da scoop!  I'd love to hear about this BB.  If you are referring to NextDoor, that site is open to Woodland Heights and all the small, contiguous subdivisions along with Norhill, North Norhill and East Norhill, so it encompasses a huge area with thousands of homes and highly variable demographics.  The Urgent Alerts are used regularly and are very effective.  It's a no-brainer for the Houston Heights Association to form another NextDoor site and affiliate with all the others.  But no doubt the HHA is too busy spying on its members' home improvements plans and thinks this interweb thing is a passing fad, because dagnamit, we didn't need it in 1920!.

 

Edit: In addition to the above neighborhoods, Montie Beach, Brookesmith, First Ward and Houston Heights East have all formed affilliated NextDoor sites.  I can Turn On or Turn Off posts/threads for any or all nearby neighborhoods depending on how elite I feel that day.

Edited by fwki

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We need more police presence and more vigilant neighbors that actually are aware of who lives next to, across the street and behind them. We also need a communication strategy to keep residents informed. The availability of social media for the local neighborhood is virtually non-existent with the exception of a few general boards. I would gladly pay dues to the HHA if they had a neighborhood bulletin board with alerts. The constable program is an attempt but I truly believe "the feet on the ground" can be much more efficient in dettering hoodlum crime and vandalism as it occurs.

I was very disappointed the elitists in WH forced the community to join an exclusive board available only to members in their subdivision mainly due to the immediate alert when our local community was under siege. It also served as a reminder to always be alert and all types of crimes were posted. We did not have to wait for the "if it bleeds it leads" stories to wake us from our gentrified slumber.

https://www.facebook.com/HoustonCrimeAlerts

 

This one has been pretty good about getting out the word on crime in the Heights even though it is open to all inner loop neighborhoods.  There are also "nextdoor" boards for the east and west sides of the Heights that are pretty good tools for communicating with neighbors about suspicious vehicles, etc.  HHA is too slow to get anything done to expect them to take advantage of social media.  They have done a decent job communicating with HPD and CM Cohen about the rise in crime. 

 

The folks who really need to get on social media are HPD and the constables.  Why in the world wouldn't they set up FB pages/message boards with residents or have some sort of text message alert for residents?  I mean, I can find out what Miley Cyrus is doing just about every minute of the day via Twitter but have no way to find out that the police are looking for an axe murderer down the street from me.  I have heard about some other cities that have had a lot of success enabling 911 to receive pictures via text.  Police are able to get a photo ID of a perp in real time instead of just a verbal description.  All the HPD/Constable patrol vehicles are already set up with lap tops. 

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Another robbery at gunpoint....There is no doubt the criminals are getting bolder.  Will be interesting to find out if the woman was a small business owner who was just closing up (and likely carrying cash), or if she was just someone out late, making herself an easy target.

 

http://www.khou.com/news/local/Robbers-follow-Heights-woman-home-from-work-223108041.html

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How is there not a detailed description of the robbers, that makes no sense whatsoever. 

 

Masks according to the report....and they must be using sign language because certain dialects are easy to identify, not that there's anything wrong with that...

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Edge of the Heights between Durham and Shepherd.  An easy getaway.

 

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How is there not a detailed description of the robbers, that makes no sense whatsoever.

Because the real crime that everyone is seeking to avoid is not armed robbery, it's the possibility that a reporter might be called a racist. Nevermind the fact that assuming that a group matching a suspect's ethnicity would automatically find fault with using identifying descriptors is racist in itself.

Most of these reports have less to do with catching criminals and more to do with formatting pages with dummy text.

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2001 Lincoln LS - I can pretty much sketch the offenders just by knowing what they drove.  Political correctness has run amok!

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2001 Lincoln LS - I can pretty much sketch the offenders just by knowing what they drove. Political correctness has run amok!

Based on my parents electrical nightmare experience on theirs I would say the suspects picked the wrong getaway car.

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http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Tension-follows-rash-of-home-invasions-by-masked-2293056.php

 

There have been a couple of incidents of people getting followed from the Kroger at 20th and robbed in their driveway.  And there were a bunch of driveway robberies in Oak Forrest.  But, this sounds more like the perps are looking for a big stash of cash.  It sounds a lot like what the perps in the article above were doing a few years ago. 

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If someone follows you, drive to the police station and the perps will be scared away.

 

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Tension-follows-rash-of-home-invasions-by-masked-2293056.php

 

There have been a couple of incidents of people getting followed from the Kroger at 20th and robbed in their driveway.  And there were a bunch of driveway robberies in Oak Forrest.  But, this sounds more like the perps are looking for a big stash of cash.  It sounds a lot like what the perps in the article above were doing a few years ago. 

 

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The one time I was ever followed I made a couple of lefts in the neighborhood (obviously making a circle) and the people stopped following me.  (they must have realized that I  knew they were following me).  If you ever feel like you are being followed make a block in neighborhood and if they are still following you find help.  At night there are almost always police officers at Andy's on 11th, or Valero on Studewood.

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I guess they didn't get the memo that 19th street is a walkable paradise since they left in a Buick.

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We are really on one heck of a crime spree recently. At some point hpd is going to have to step it up or us residents are going to have to start doing it ourselves. I would think hpd would prefer we not go vigilante to prevent another Zimmerman style problem....but enough is enough, and we've had enough!

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We are really on one heck of a crime spree recently. At some point hpd is going to have to step it up or us residents are going to have to start doing it ourselves. I would think hpd would prefer we not go vigilante to prevent another Zimmerman style problem....but enough is enough, and we've had enough!

 

Vigilante?  I thought it was self defense?

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We are really on one heck of a crime spree recently. At some point hpd is going to have to step it up or us residents are going to have to start doing it ourselves. I would think hpd would prefer we not go vigilante to prevent another Zimmerman style problem....but enough is enough, and we've had enough!

 

The theft stats did spike, but the other stats are just starting to creep in the wrong direction.  There is no big crime spree.  But, this is definitely the time for HPD to keep this area from becoming a hot spot.  I have heard that CM Cohen has received a lot of complaints on crime and HPD is supposed to be adjusting patrols to give the Heights more attention.  HPD did catch all of the guys who robbed the Denny's over by Memorial Park and I-10.  HPD is actually a pretty effective police force once they get on it.  The problem has been that they have looked the other way in the Heights and blamed residents' carelessness for the increased property crime. 

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Yeah, it really ticks me off when someone says the victim is to blame for leaving valuables in their car...  I've heard people say it was their own fault and etc. and that is just rediculous.  It is always the theif's fault.  It sucks that we have to be carefull with hiding or not leaving valuables in our vehicles but in what world is it not the theifs fault? 

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I have a neighbor that sometimes leaves his vehicle on the street overnight.  He never leaves anything in it, valuable or not.  But, he always leaves the doors unlocked. 

 

So far, he's not been robbed or vandalized. 

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Vigilante?  I thought it was self defense?

 

The shooting itself was self defense, the need for the neighborhood watch was due to lack of police response and a vigilante neighborhood watchman.  The same situation is present now. 

 

We have a need that is not being filled and a population that is getting frustrated to the point of taking matters into their own hands. 

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I have a neighbor that sometimes leaves his vehicle on the street overnight. He never leaves anything in it, valuable or not. But, he always leaves the doors unlocked.

So far, he's not been robbed or vandalized.

I have a childhood friend who voluntarily gave his lunch money to the school bully, and you know what, he never once was beaten up. Granted he is now an alcoholic who still lives with parents, but it's better to roll over and submit, right?

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