HOUSTON (FOX 26) - In the wake of the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings, city officials are beefing up police presence so that shoppers can feel at ease for the upcoming tax-free weekend. Mayor Sylvester Turner and city council members have approved an additional $1.5 million in overtime for Houston Police.
Although Chief Art Acevedo said there's no current threat to the city, he said the department is being proactive and has strategic plans in place just in case.
"What it's going to give us is boots on the ground when necessary and additional investigative capacity when necessary," Acevedo said.
"It is important for us to do everything that we can to provide for the public safety of our citizens," Turner said.
Acevedo adds that the department is working with ATF authorities and already has a data-driven, intelligence-led strategy in place, in the event of a crisis. Their goal is to be proactive and protect back-to-school shoppers who may be feeling a little anxious.
"I feel kind of nervous since all the shootings that have been happening around the country. But you can't live in fear because if you live in fear, you're always going to feel bad. So it's better to think positive, hopefully nothing is going to happen because if not I'm not going to be able to go anywhere," Yolanda Flores said.
"The other day we actually went to the mall and you kinda feel like different, somehow like not knowing is it going to be safe," Ricardo Villanuevla said.
"Thinking about it doesn't help really. It's a tragedy. I mean, it could happen anytime, anywhere so can't worry yourself to death over that," Pat Flinn said.
This past weekend, 11 people in Houston were also shot to death. Despite that, Acevedo is reiterating that crime numbers in the city are down overall.
"Despite that violent weekend, we are still down 4% in terms of murders as of this morning. And if you look at the murders at the end of 2015 till today, we're 23% down on murders," Acevedo said.
Turner is also urging the public to help police by keeping their eyes and ears open and reporting anything suspicious to the authorities.
The back-to-school shopping period is from Friday to Sunday.