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Judge Hidalgo announces $2.6 million program to fight crime in unincorporated areas of Harris County

According to her office, the Harris County Safe Program will identify ‘micro-zones’ of violent crimes and increase police visibility.

HOUSTON — Harris County is dedicating more than $2 million to fighting crime in some of the county's most dangerous areas.

On Tuesday, Judge Lina Hidalgo announced a $2.6 million initiative to increase police presence in seven hot spots in unincorporated areas of Harris County.

The Harris County Safe Program will put 96 deputies per day in seven micro zones driven by crime data.

The seven zones targeted include the Cypress Station area, the Woodforest area in east Harris County and the Park Row area on the west side.

Union concerns

Dave Batton works with the Harris County Deputies' Organization. He said the program will be difficult to staff with a department that is already short.

“Where are you going to get the people?” Batton said. “It’s a band-aid on essentially a mortal wound. It’s the wrong kind of triage. We should be looking at hiring more officers, putting more people in investigations," Batton said.

Victim's family

Martha Medina's family said the initiative is a step in the right direction, but they still want to know what's being done to keep violent and repeat offenders off the streets.

Medina was killed in a purse-snatching incident outside a McDonald's on Uvalde Road in September. The area is one of the seven that will see increased patrols when the initiative kicks in on Dec. 13.

The Medinas said the holidays are bringing them more pain.

“We’re only missing one person, but it feels like we are missing five," Martha's son, Adrian Medina, said.

Andrew Williams has been arrested and charged with capital murder in Martha Medina's case. The Medinas were shocked when they found out Williams was already out on bond for another capital murder charge when Martha was killed.

“This data-driven initiative is good, but at the same time, playing devil’s advocate, ... What are we doing to hold the judges accountable?” Adrian Medina said. "Let’s make this a multiple approach effort and one that matters. One where everyone is accountable, not just a few."

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