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Police Chief Hurtt Releases Results of Crime Initiative

December 19, 2005 -- Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt announced today (Dec. 19) that a recent six-month long violent crime initiative led to the arrests of 580 suspects and seizure of 104 guns from the streets in west and southwest Houston.

The Violent Crime Impact Team (V.C.I.T.) is an initiative developed nationwide through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as an integrated federal, state and local strategy to identify, disrupt, arrest and prosecute the most violent criminals in 20 U.S. cities. This initiative was implemented in the City of Houston on June 6, 2005.

This initiative utilized a number of strategies in an attempt to reduce violent, gang and firearm-related crime in targeted areas identified through local crime analysis. Houston police officers utilized zero tolerance, surveillance activities, vehicle checks, and informant/citizen information as their major strategies in identifying suspects perpetrating crimes in the targeted area. Fugitive databases were also utilized to identify wanted suspects in the target areas.

The Houston Police Department's resources were committed to street-level enforcement in the targeted areas related to violent crime, gang crime and firearms-related incidents. The HPD units were comprised of members of the Major Offenders Division, the Fondren Patrol Division, the Westside Patrol Division, the Narcotics Division, and the Robbery Division.

The V.C.I.T. Houston initiative ended on November 23, 2005 with the following results:

* 580 persons arrested, 104 guns recovered, 207 gang members arrested, 369 documented gang incidents investigated, $63,606 currency recovered, 32 vehicles were recovered at a value of $300,000.

* The Narcotics Division seized 3358 grams of cocaine, 117 grams of crack cocaine, 36.6 grams of methamphetamine, 37,364 hits of ecstasy and 80,689.02 grams of marijuana.

* V.C.I.T. Houston officers were committed to the intense investigation involving the murder of Houston Police Officer Rueben De Leon. Information obtained during their comprehensive canvass of potential suspects was instrumental in assisting the Homicide Division.

* Individual robberies accounted for the greatest number of violent crimes in the target areas. Several groups of serial robbery suspects were identified. Thirteen cases were identified as serial cases (linking them to other similar robberies). An additional 20-30 cases are attributed to one group of robbery suspects that were identified and arrested by V.C.I.T. personnel. Two additional sets of these robbers were identified as gang members, who committed 15 robberies in seven days.

MES/JFC 12-19-05

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