HOUSTON — After an increase in violence along Houston’s club corridor, more police officers are now patrolling Washington Avenue.
From trouble at night to trash better seen in the day, the people who live around here have had it.
“Washington Avenue is not stranger to issues. Our residents deal with loud bar noise, trash, littering, but we’ve also seen very, very violent crimes along Washington Avenue as well,” said Abbie Kamin, Houston city council member who represents the community along and around Washington Avenue.
Saturday morning she teamed with civic groups, cub scouts and other members of the community to pick up trash along the avenue.
“We wanted to bring attention to what’s happening along Washington Avenue and throughout our city,” Kamin said. “We are experiencing, like many cities around the country, an uptick in violent crime.”
Early Tuesday morning 5 people were physically hurt during a drive-by shooting at a hookah lounge. Houston police said three men returned with guns after a bouncer refused to let them in. In January police said a woman was shot in retaliation after she bumped into a couple while walking along a Washington Avenue sidewalk.
Suspected drunks driving along Washington have crashed into police. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission had to temporarily pull the liquor license of a Washington Avenue bar after it refused to follow some COVID-19 restrictions. Another bar along the Avenue was publicly shamed out of hosting a "mask off" party earlier in the pandemic.
“And it’s only getting worse,” Kamin said. “We literally have residents whose pictures are falling off of the walls from the bass in certain areas.”
State legislators are trying to calm crowds. During this legislative cycle, lawmakers took up a bill that will stiffen possible punishment for people convicted of racing along streets like Washington.
Texas Representative Ann Johnson hopes more join the fight to take back the neighborhood.
“What we’re trying to bring attention to is, yes you are engaged in a business,” Johnson said. “But your business needs to be responsive to the fact that you have plopped your business down in the middle of a neighborhood. And the people who live here, need to have to safety and security and piece of mind that should come with homeownership.”
“Choose people over profits,” she said. “Support those businesses that are doing it right.”
The gunmen who shot up the hookah lounge are believed to be still on the loose. According to HPD’s twitter feed, that was one of at least four shootings that happened in Houston on Tuesday, June 8.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner confirms violence is trending up across the city.