HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Harris County leaders are hoping to curb violent crime in 2022.
Last month, county commissioners approved a plan to target seven micro-zones where violent crime is rising. We’re a few weeks into the program and if you live in the county, you should see more law enforcement out on the streets. However, they aren’t hiring more deputies, the county is paying overtime hoping it will pay off.
The Cypresswood substation in District 1 in north Harris County is one of the busiest.
“The evening shift is the busiest, from early afternoon to late night," said Capt. John Nanny.
Nanny's Harris County Sheriff's Office deputies cover the northside from SH 249 to I-45, and the busiest micro-zone for them is along FM 1960.
“There’s approximately 500,000 citizens that live in this area and it’s constantly growing," Nanny said.
The Harris County Safe Program provided $2.6 million to put close to 100 extra deputies on the street each day.
“We have five districts in the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. If you wanted to divide 100 by that, it’s basically 20, but some of them are not seeing as much participation as others," Nanny said.
That’s because the program relies on deputies to pick up extra shifts. Something the Harris County Deputies’ Organization told KHOU 11 News last month concerned them.
"It's the wrong kind of triage. We should be looking at hiring more officers, putting more people in investigations," David Batton, with the Harris Co. Deputies' Organization, told KHOU 11 News in December.
Only time will tell if violent crime trends down, but until then, Nanny said his deputies will give it their best effort.
“They are working it as much as we can. You just spread people too thin and they can only work so many hours," Nanny said. "We’ve seen some positive results from them (but) it’s too early to determine what kind of effect it’s really having."
KHOU 11 News asked how long the program will last. HCSO said it will keep putting extra deputies on the street as long as the county keeps it funded.