Houston business owners asking for help to address crime concerns

A handful of small business owners went to the Houston City Council meeting Wednesday to discuss their crime concerns.

"It’s definitely not a neighborhood exclusive thing," said Marin Slanina, owner of Star Sailor. "The City of Houston as a whole has a problem with burglaries, thefts, and break-ins."


Slanina says her restaurant and bar along West 18th Street was burglarized twice in 2 days last May. Roughly, 8 months after the burglaries, Slanina says no one has been arrested for the crimes.

"It’s scary," said Slanina. "It’s not comfortable. We know we have to do something bigger as a whole to change what’s going on in our small businesses."

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Slanina was one of a few local business owners Wednesday to share their crime concerns with Houston’s city council members.

"I have been burglarized 15 times in the last year," said one owner.

"Some [business owners] have gone to the great lengths of living in their business with a bulletproof vest and shotgun, during the hours these break-ins are happening," said Slanina. "Anybody who walks in the door, you want to give them benefit of the doubt.  [However], you still have to have your guard up.  You still have to be ready to take care of your house."

According to statistics provided by the Houston Police Department, violent crime was down last year citywide compared to 2021.  HPD says burglaries dropped by 1 percent, robberies by 8 percent, and murders decreased by 9 percent.

"It’s hard to take statistics [seriously] when maybe our statistics aren’t being put into those," said Slanina.


The Star Sailor has added new security measures to their restaurant. In addition, they no longer accept cash. 

Slanina says local business owners would like the City of Houston to share funds with them to help strengthen their security and safety measures.

"We really want help from the funds that are out there, that Houston does have, to maybe designate to small businesses and help us," said Slanina.