City of Houston One SafeHouston

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Dear Houstonians,

The City of Houston, not unlike all major cities in our nation, has experienced an increase in violent crime as theCOVID-19 pandemic tightened its grip on our city, state and nation. Other factors contributing to the nationwide spike in violent crime include widespread social anxiety, economic uncertainty, mental health concerns, the increased presence of illegally owned firearms, and a strained court system plagued by criminal case backlogs that impact the pretrial, release, and prosecution of violent offenders.

In 2021, the city launched a Violent Crime Initiative that resulted in the reduction of crime in many identified hot spots. By the end of the initiative, all violent crime categories were reduced except homicide. Sadly, the increase in homicides during the first months of 2022 and felonious assaults on police officers and fellow Houstonians is a sobering reminder that we must collaborate, as one community to combat our current crime challenges.

Houstonians, it is time to take our city back! To realize this vision, we are launching the One Safe Houston crime reduction initiative, which focuses on four (4) key areas:

1. Violence Reduction and Crime Prevention
2. Crisis Intervention, Response and Recovery
3. Youth Outreach Opportunities
4. Key Community Partnerships

Much work is already underway within these primary focus areas, but additional work and commitment is needed to have the greatest impact and measure of success. One Safe Houston is a comprehensive violence reduction initiative that links research-based strategies to improve public safety and reduce the harms caused by violent crime. With the collaboration of all stakeholders, I am confident that we will reduce violence and emerge as One Resilient City – One Unified City – One Safe Houston.

Sincerely,

Mayor's Signature

Sylvester Turner
Mayor

One Safe Houston Key Areas

Funding Breakdown

The One Safe Houston crime reduction initiative is a $45 million investment funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • $21 million has been allocated towards Behavioral Health Programs, namely:
    • Crisis Call Diversion Program (CCD)—a 24-hour coverage program aimed at diverting mental health crisis calls that are non-criminal/non-violent to counselors and community mental health providers rather than sending first responders to investigate. Learn more at https://www.houstoncit.org/ccd/
    • Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (MCOT)-- an interdisciplinary mobile team comprised of psychiatrists, registered nurses, and licensed clinicians specializing in crisis intervention and rapid response. This methodology removes law enforcement from dealing with lower-level mental health calls and connects individuals to services and professionals that can help them most without involving the criminal justice system.
    • Crisis Intervention Response Teams (CIRT)-- a specialized program that pairs a mental health clinician with a law enforcement partner. The mobile team responds to 911 dispatch calls and referrals from the HPD Mental Health Division, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Mental Health Unit, and Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD. The program has expanded to 24-hour coverage with 18 CIRT units deployed. Learn more at https://www.houstoncit.org/cirt/
    • Clinician Officer Remote Evaluation (CORE)-- a telehealth strategy for responding to mental health crisis calls using a tablet and a HIPAA-approved technology platform to connect a law enforcement first responder with a mental health clinician in the community at the time of the 911 dispatch.
  • $13 million has been allocated for Domestic and Sexual Abuse Responses, namely:
    • Domestic Abuse Response Teams (DART) program ($10 million)—providing specially trained, two-person mobile teams consisting of one HPD officer and one victim advocate responding to “high risk” domestic violence crime scenes at the request of the primary responding police unit trained to perform on-scene danger assessments.
    • Additional funding for wrap-around services for survivors and prevention efforts to combat domestic and sexual abuse ($3 million) -- consisting of forensic nurses directly contracted with HPD, emergency Sheltering for victims of domestic violence, and education and outreach to targeted communities.
  • $5.7 million has been allocated to increasing Overtime for HPD
    • An additional 125 officers per day will be deployed primarily based on data driven, evidence-based analysis of when and where the most violent crimes are occurring and to provide more visibility toward crime deterrence and rapid response to crimes in progress.
  • $2.5 million has been allocated for the implementation of the CURE Violence and Credible Messengers Programs
    • This model trains and deploys outreach workers and violence interrupters to mitigate conflict on the street before it turns violent. While the Credible Messengers Program consists of trusted members of their communities and use their street credibility to model and teach more effective methods to community and resolve conflicts.
  • $1.9 million has been allocated to Increase the Number of Park Rangers by 15
    • The park rangers will partner with local law enforcement to keep our neighborhood parks safe
  • $1 million has been allocated for the creation of a robust Gun Buyback Initiative
    • This program is a voluntary incentive for persons to donate their firearms to remove unwanted or illegal weapons from the street 
  • $1 million has been allocated to expand the existing Community Re-entry Network Program
    • This program is designed to help formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate into the community by providing access to workforce development tools, mental and behavioral health resources, housing, and other basic needs.  To date, the Houston Health Department’s (HHD) reentry program has successfully reduced recidivism to 4.2% as compared to the state recidivism rate of 21.4%. 
    • To expand the program’s footprint, HHD will collaborate with Harris County to implement these interventions and partner with community-based organizations to support program expansion from 500 to 750 individuals.

Public Safety Initiatives

  • Bond Company Protocols and Best Practices
    • The City Legal Department is drafting an ordinance for consideration by the Houston City Council, which would require that a bail bond company to charge a premium equal to at least ten percent of the amount of the bail bond set by the court.  This would require that the cost of a bail bond be equal to what the public generally believes to be the cost of such a bond rather than some lesser amount. 
  • Court Backlog
    • The City of Houston is poised to work collaboratively with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to address these challenges; but the fact remains that the criminal court backlog is impacting the County’s ability to bring violent offender cases to completion. Accordingly, it is imperative that all criminal justice stakeholders work together to design a plan to clear the criminal case backlog, especially those involving offenders charged with violent crimes and who pose the greatest risk of harm to our community.
  • Identify and Address Nuisance Locations
    • Investigative Divisions within HPD and other city departments will work together to address night club and convenience stores where repeated crimes of violence have occurred. 
    • The City Legal Department is drafting an ordinance for consideration by the Houston City Council, which would require strategically placed cameras to survey the immediate and surrounding areas, designate the images to be maintained for a reasonable period, and grants law enforcement access to view images in connection with any criminal investigation.
  • Identify Top Hot Spot Crime Neighborhoods
    • HPD will provide added safety to our shopping areas, synagogues, mosques and other faith-based institutions.
  •  Technology Enhancements
    • The City of Houston supports the use of data driven, evidence-based law enforcement response strategies.    Accordingly, HPD will enhance our crime fighting capabilities by leveraging the following technologies:
      • Expand the deployment of Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) in high crime areas to identify vehicles associated with criminal acts.
      • Leverage and expand gunshot detection technology for a more rapid response to gun crime related incidents thereby enhancing investigative leads and the possibility of quickly apprehending violent offenders in the commission of crimes involving firearms. 
      • Increase community partnerships to leverage available real time video through programs such as Community Connect, Ring, Nest and other video security platforms. 
      • Enhance the technology capabilities of the Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) and move it toward a true Strategic Decision Support Center.

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Supporting Documents