HOUSTON Business owners in a stretch of southeast Houston demanded help from police during a heated meeting with activist Quanell X on Monday.

The merchants, who own businesses near the intersection of MLK and Southseas Street, said break-ins and burglaries in the area had gotten out of control.

I don t understand why this is happening, said Lisa Randall, who owns a hair salon that was recently broken into. These crimes keep happening and nothing is being done about it.

Randall said following the break-in at her business, it took police several hours to respond.

Some of the crimes have been captured on video. Surveillance cameras recorded suspects in a recent smash and grab robbery at a nearby Cricket Store.

Officials with the Houston Police Department said that while there had been a recent uptick in burglaries in the area, the typical response time was about 33 minutes, which was also the average response time city-wide.

They said each of the crimes was being thoroughly investigated. But merchants planned to stage a town hall meeting at a local church next week.

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