Making the District a Safer Place
HPD officers working in Montrose made nearly 1,000 arrests in 2013, said Officer Victor Beserra. Of the 973 arrests that had been recorded before Christmas, 126 represented felony charges, he said.
A murder near the Burger King in July produced an arrest of the suspect within the same week, thanks to Officers Joseph Mabasa and John Obenhaus, he added. Some of the felonies have included dealing of crack cocaine and meth
in the Montrose/Westheimer area, he said, and many of the lesser charges included public intoxication and trespassing.
The number of property crimes have stayed about the same, year-to-date, while the number car burglaries tends to trend upward from time to time. “One of my biggest pet peeves is car break-ins,” He said. “I see them every day and I’m tired of seeing them.”
More education of the public, such as handing out flyers, vehicle report cards, and the District’s posting of “Take, Hide, Lock” signs in parking lots will help put a dent in the number of vehicle burglaries, he said. It usually takes three viewings of a sign for it to have significant impact on a person’s consciousness and habits, Beserra said.
“When you look at robberies and assaults, they’re down and that’s a good thing,” he said. “I’d rather see violent crimes go down, and that’s one impact I believe we’ve had in the past few years.”
In addition to the regular police patrol, the District has a two-staff unit on Friday and Saturday nights that puts additional focus on crime hot spots. “I believe that’s where we’ve made our greatest impact,” he said.
In 2013, officers were able to make 12,600 checks on Montrose-area businesses, largely successful of the number of trespass affidavits business owners have signed to give officers access to their properties. Officers drive by, often getting out of their vehicle to physically check back doors and alleys.
“When we check these businesses, that’s often when we find some of our suspects,” Beserra said. In October and November, there were more than 100 arrests per months, which was a record, he added.
Beserra acknowledged that the Montrose District board and staff have provided significant support and added that communication with the public is also a big help. He said his own barber at Henry’s on Richmond Avenue, helped by reporting that he had seen a transient—well known in the neighborhood—with a bicycle that he had never had before. Officers approached the man and discovered the bike had been reported stolen in a burglary the previous night, but also were able to charge him with drug possession.