By Cierra Duncan
Members of the South Park community recently gathered to discuss the crimes plaguing their community. In the last 12 months, 13 businesses within the same city block radius have been burglarized. The town hall meeting was held at MiracleLand Church. Quanell X, alongside members of the Houston Police Department, business owners and local pastors, led the meeting where residents discussed solutions to the robberies.
“There is too much crime taking place in our community,” Quanell X said. “A lot of the crime can be fixed by us but we have to take a very progressive position. We have to be willing to tell the criminal element we stand together.”
He said when something happens to one person it affects the entire community. He also encouraged residents to utilize police services if they know information that can help solve a crime.
“Many of us know what’s going on but are too afraid to call,” he said. “Many don’t believe you can call in anonymously but you can!”
Some residents were unsure of the daily actions they could take to prevent crime from happening.
“We have to become a true community again,” said Lieutenant Troy Finner of HPD. “We have to stick together and start looking out for one another. We have to start holding people accountable.”
Finner said residents should be familiar with who lives in their neighborhoods and should know when something is out of place. “If you see something, say something,” he said.
Officer T. Harris said residents can come into the community’s police storefront locations and make complaints.
Harris is the Southeast PIP (Positive Interaction Program) Coordinator for HPD. They hold meetings every second Thursday of the month where residents can learn about the police department and state their concerns.
Kehlin Farooq, owner of Mr. Indian Hair, said police can only do so much. “We have to take a more active role in being concerned about what’s taking place in our communities,” he said.
Farooq’s business was recently burglarized. Four women robbed the establishment of more than $15,000 in hair extensions. The robbers were eventually caught and Farooq increased security inside his business.
MiracleLand Pastor Brian Allen echoed Farooq’s sentiments.
“The police are here but they can’t do everything,” Allen said. “We all have to take the approach of ‘if something happens to someone in my community, I’m not going to turn my head.’ At some point, enough has to be enough.”
“No one is going to be concerned until you are concerned,” Farooq said. “We have to take our communities back. The only way we are going to do this is by saying ‘I no longer accept it.’ This is not a bad community. We just have a few ‘bad apples’ in it and we’re going to change it.”
The above article was published in volume 83, number 2 (November 7, 2013) of the Defender newspaper in Houston, TX.