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HPD Seeks to Reassure Public Through Fear Reduction Initiative

March 7, 2006 -- In an effort to reduce the level of fear reported by residents living in areas affected by recent crimes, Chief Harold Hurtt turned to his Community Relations Unit (CRU) to implement a Fear Reduction Initiative.

With a reduction in personnel and limited resources, law enforcement agencies often become more keenly focused on addressing actual crimes while monitoring the fear of crime. However, "our perception of crime and the fear it produces can significantly impact our quality of life," says Sergeant Babb, who leads the CRU. "Fear of crime has the potential to impact our lives more than crime itself," says Babb. "While a violent crime may directly affect one individual, the resulting fear can be quite substantial and affect an entire community's day-to-day activities by causing some people to think twice before allowing their kids to play in the park, or walk to the corner store or school" said Babb.

The CRU began their effort in those parts of the city experiencing an increase of crime. To date, officers have visited approximately 200 families. They focus on making personal contact with crime victims followed by door-to-door visits with others to hear their concerns and offer assistance when appropriate. Many of their visits are conducted in plain-clothes; however, they always display their law enforcement identification and badges.

The response from residents and property managers so far is overwhelmingly supportive. "They are thrilled that we are taking the time to visit with them and address their concerns," said Officer Kelly Young of the CRU. "I have thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to interact on a personal level with the citizens we serve" she said.

"Chief Hurtt understands the importance of cultivating and maintaining positive relationships within the community," said Captain Dwayne Ready of the Public Affairs Division. The Fear Reduction Initiative is one step to further foster those relationships and assure the public that their police department is working for them.

For additional information regarding this initiative, please contact Sergeant J. Babb of the Community Relations Unit at (713) 308-3200.

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.