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HPD to increase patrols in 6 crime hot spots across the city

The hot spots include the Westside, Midwest, South Gessner, South Central, Southeast and North Belt divisions.

HOUSTON — A rise in crime during the COVID-19 pandemic is prompting the City of Houston to make changes. Starting Monday, more Houston Police Department officers will be patrolling the streets in six hot spots across the city.

One business owner, who became a victim Monday morning, said the help can’t come soon enough.

“This is where they broke entry into the door," said Harold Vetter, owner of All American Eyeglass Repair on the Southwest Freeway near Chimney Rock. “They just came through ... smashed the glass, just grabbed and swept into bags and backpacks," he said. “To say how it feels to be broken into, it’s such a violation.”

Vetter's surveillance cameras recorded two suspects breaking into the store and a getaway car waiting outside. He found a trail of broken glass and blood left behind. Vetter called the police in the morning, but he said they didn't show up until the afternoon.

“The criminal element knows it can get away with more because there’s nothing being done about it," he said.

On Monday, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced something is being done. $4.1 million in CARES Act funding will pay for 110 extra officers to patrol every day.

“We will focus on six hot spots, but we are constantly looking for hot spots and this can change," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

The hot spots include the Westside, Midwest, South Gessner, South Central, Southeast and North Belt divisions. Vetter happens to be in the Midwest and said he hopes whoever broke into his business gets the message.

“I’m sure each and every one of these parts of town, it’s very needed and we need to make people feel comfortable when they are walking around outside," he said.

If you recognize the suspects in that surveillance footage, police are asking you to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

As for the extra officers, they’ll be on the streets through the end of the year.

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