HOUSTON - A new crime initiative, called the Harris County Safe program, passed unanimously in county commissioners' court Tuesday.
The $2.6 million program developed by the Harris County Sheriff's Office aims to tackle the rise in violent crime by allocating more law enforcement officers to address hot spot areas.
"We are strategically pinpointing and then attacking crime. The best part of it is, we are doing it hand in hand with the community," said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
The program aims to use data mapping and analytics to identify seven 'microzones,' a small area known as being a hot spot for violent crimes.
The program then plans to add up to 96 additional constables and sheriff's deputies into those microzones.
"The plan is to increase police visibility in those areas, to prioritize street-level deterrence, and to prioritize the arrests specifically for the repeat offenders in those communities," Hidalgo said.
According to county data, there's been a 32.7% increase in homicides from 2019 to 2021 and a 31% increase in aggravated assaults with a deadly weapon.
Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner and former Sheriff Adrian Garcia has high hopes for this initiative.
"Already the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with the constables, has taken over 200 wanted violent offenders off the streets in Harris County. This will do more," Garcia said.
The plan will also focus on data collection and community engagement.
Hidalgo said the Harris County Safe Program could go into effect in a few weeks.