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'They don't respect anybody.' FBI Houston's new special agent in charge looks to help reduce city's violent crime

James Smith arrived in Houston a few weeks ago. He said his office is working closely with local law enforcement to combat violent crime across the city.

HOUSTON — A new special agent is now in charge at Houston's FBI office

His name is James Smith and he said going after drug dealers and gang members has always been in his blood. 

Smith grew up in a family of officers but started out as an engineer. He didn't go to the FBI Academy until he was almost too old.

"I was 36 when I entered and I turned 37 one month after I graduated from the academy," Smith said.

Thirty-seven is the cutoff age for entering the academy.

Smith arrived in Houston a few weeks ago.

When asked what's causing the spike in violent crimes in our city, he said, "We have a boldness of some criminals who feel they can go out and do what they want and they don't respect life. Right now, they don't respect anybody."

The agency is fighting back by teaming up with local law enforcement. 

This week, the FBI's Violent Crime Task Force arrested three people accused of getting into a shootout with guards while trying to rob an armored car in Houston last month.

Then there was a recent shooting outside the Galleria. Investigators said it was gang-related.

   

"How bad is gang activity in Houston?" Len Cannon asked. 

"It's no different than other cities," Smith said. "Criminal activity has evolved and changed over time. They adjust to various types of crimes. They learn from the mistakes they've made and now they are going forward with new tactics.

Smith said the FBI is working with local law enforcement to try and get a handle on the violent crime across the Houston area so residents don't have to fear leaving their homes.

When asked about how the FBI is protecting the border from drug traffickers, Smith said it would be less of a problem if we can lessen the demand for narcotics in this country. 

Watch the full interview James Smith did with Len Cannon below:

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