Officers of the Houston Police Department shared a sweet treat with community members in North Houston last Thursday during an event held at ABC Dental in the Northline Commons outdoor shopping complex. It's an area that hasn’t always been the safest, law enforcement says.
HPD Vice Division Captain Dan Harris kicked off the meet-and-greet with a few comforting words for the community: “We’re concerned with what’s happening here in Northside. This area has issues that go beyond law enforcement—like homelessness.” But events like these help form a bond with the businesses of Northline Commons and the community that can help make the area safer, Harris said.
The shopping complex's management board reached out to HPD for the first meet-and-greet last May after a homeless man killed an 11-year-old boy on his way home from school. An HPD analysis revealed crime had been a problem for the area throughout 2016, with calls to HPD about trespassers increasing by 95 percent from 2015 to 2016. This year, over 100 crimes have been reported in the area, including theft, aggravated assault, and robbery.
“We realized there was a disconnect with the community and the police officers, especially with kids,” said Rebecca Reyna of the Greater Northside Management District.
This meet-and-greet marks the third event Reyna and her team has held with HPD to help bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement.
“We want everyone in our community—not just our shoppers—to feel safe here,” said Jeff Procell, the manager of Northline Commons.