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'I'm really frustrated' | Council member reacts to city's response to spike in carjackings

Only 14% of carjackings in Houston since 2019 have ended in an arrest.

HOUSTON — A KHOU 11 Investigates report into a spike in carjackings across Houston is now prompting a call to action at Houston's City Council.

District J Council Member Edward Pollard expressed his frustration at council this week after learning the two hotspots for carjackings are in his district. 

He says the key to preventing and solving these crimes is license plate readers

"My biggest frustration is how slow things happen in the city," said Pollard at Wednesday's council meeting.

RELATED: Heatmap shows where carjackings are happening most in Houston

Asiatown and Gulfton are the two areas in District J seeing the most carjackings since 2019. 

"Many of them don't even have active leads and that brought me back to months ago," said Pollard. 

He says a solution to help solve these crimes has been on the table since February when alongside HPD he held a press conference to announce District J had budgeted $100,000 for nearly 100 license plate readers to be installed across his district. 

"We allocated dollars in February, we did a public announcement in March, we're now in June, so we expect cameras to be up and running," said Pollard. 

RELATED: License plate readers going up in some Houston neighborhoods to combat crime

Three months have passed and not one license plate reader has been installed in District J. The cameras would snap photos and license plates of all cars that would drive through an intersection.

"If that car has been reported into a crime, an alert goes to HPD and they would be able to investigate," said Pollard. 

It could be another tool in HPD's toolbox and a badly needed one. 

Only 14% of carjackings in Houston since 2019 have ended in an arrest.

"They're going to get gas, stopping at the bank, going to the grocery store and people are in fear," said Pollard. 

This heat map shows you the hotspots where carjackings are happening most. Since 2019, southwest Houston has been especially hard hit.

We asked HPD for answers about the delay in installing those cameras but only received a vague response, failing to address KHOU 11's specific questions. 

"As part of OneSafeHouston and other public safety initiatives, the Houston Police Department will continue to use enhanced technology to fight violent crime. This includes the use of cameras such as Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs). HPD looks forward to working with our City Council colleagues. All work in this area is continuing."

Pollard says he will continue to push for answers and is working to add an agenda item on this issue next week.

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