Tech is terrific, but knowing neighbors is No. 1 crime-fighting tool
By Charlotte Aguilar
West University and Bellaire police are cutting-edge when it comes to using technology. West U’s perimeter is circled with a network of license plate-reading cameras, while Bellaire has cameras installed at strategic locations. Both cities are getting frequent “hits” that tell them a vehicle is stolen or wanted in connection with a crime — a valuable tool.
The flashy cameras have overshadowed other items at officers’ disposal. They have high water vehicles for rescues in flooding. Bellaire has used its drone to capturing fleeing suspects, and West U offers service to directly connect residents’ home security to the city’s dispatch center.
Communication is solid, too, with each department using social media well and holding friendly “Coffee With a Cop” sessions to connect with their communities.
But the No. 1 crime-fighting tool in Bellaire and West U remains unchanged by technological advances and ever-increasing communications platforms. Knowledgeable and alert neighbors who get to know each other make communities safer — ones who react when something is wrong, and know when to seek help and whom to contact, and how to protect their household and neighbors wisely in an emergency.
National Night Out helps those connections, while serving a dual purpose of showing off first responders’ latest equipment, and talking crime trends. Both cities will observe Night Out from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Oct. 4.
Police and fire departments participate throughout both cities, helping block captains or coordinators set up events from small informal front-yard gatherings with lawn chairs and an ice chest full of cold beverages to full-fledged block parties with catered food and activities for youngsters.
In West U, registration opened Aug. 29 for 15 slots for block parties that would include barricades to keep traffic away and first responders visits. It was to stay open through Sept. 19, but the slots filled long before that, and interested residents are being waitlisted. Community Resource Officer Katie Wilson, 713-668-0330 or firstname.lastname@example.org is in charge of coordinating the events and the waitlist.
Her counterpart in Bellaire is Officer Chase Liccketto, who’s looking for block captains who are willing to take charge of a party. Streets can be closed off, and Liccketto will schedule police and fire personnel for 15- to 30-minute drop-ins to make a presentation and answer questions. Last year’s theme was vehicle thefts; this year it’s home security.
Liccketto is reachable at 713-662-8296 or email@example.com.
This article first appeared as the cover story in the September 2022 edition of Bellaire•West University Essentials Magazine