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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Opinion

Houston Police Department needs to prevent violent crime


Houston Police Department needs to prevent violent crime

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The violence in Houston has recently increased with a rise in homicides since 2021. In order to combat this, the Houston Police Department need to use more measures to prevent crime in the city. 

A recent shooting that happened last month in Houston, in which Harris County Precinct 5 Cpl. Charles Galloway, 47, was shot and killed, was devastating.

Oscar Rosales, who was taken into custody, fled out of the U.S. to Mexico but was captured and charged with capital murder. When it comes to crimes like this, there should be strict punishment. 

That said, as the fourth largest city in the U.S, Houston needs to do what it can to prevent violent crimes like this before they happen. 

Houston has recently put in place ShotSpotter which allows the city to detect gunfire and dispatch deputies to the scene. The ShotSpotter uses an array of acoustic sensors that are connected wirelessly to ShotSpotter’s centralized, cloud-based application to reliably detect and accurately locate gunshots using triangulation. 

The data goes to a review center ShotSpotter provides and it ensures and confirms that it is gunfire. The company then alerts the 911 call center that it has detected shots. 

Some may say that this is a waste of money, but it is not a waste. Now police can show up after one gunshot and hopefully prevent more violence from occurring. This will keep communities much safer. 

The city of Houston isn’t just using new technology to prevent crime, it intends to use social programs as well.

Mayor Sylvester Turner together with Houston Police Chief Troy Finner announced a $44 million program called One Safe Houston to reduce crime. The initiative features measures like the Cure Violence Program which will train people to de-escalate violence on the streets. This program also aims to provide rehabilitation and employment to incarcerated people in order to prevent more crime.

The One Safe Houston program also focuses on community partnerships with police. The American Bar Association suggests that police leaders should provide communities with a direct, ongoing voice in their police agencies by involving community members in the review and development of departmental policies and procedures. 

Informing the community on how police agencies work is crucial. Educational programs that will help trust the police more and hence reduce the fear of the police so the police can help more.  

Preventative measures like this take time but will ultimately help make Houston more safe. 

The initiative programs Turner has implemented are important as the goal is to reduce crime. The ShotSpotter program and its expansion to neighborhoods is also critical as it will help to detect any gunfire in the city. 

It is time to reduce crime for the prosperity of the city and its people. With a combination of new technology and this new program, the Houston Police Department can make this city safer. 

Jason Perez is a journalism and political science senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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