On the heels of reports citing Houston’s decrease in murders in the past year, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in the region announced a new violent crime initiative aimed at targeting the most violent of criminals.
The Houston Law Enforcement Violent Crime Initiative is the culmination of efforts by the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County District Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, just to name a few.
In total, the group has ten agencies involved with the communal goal to “augment investigative and prosecutorial efforts, but also enhance collaborative training and community outreach efforts,” read a Department of Justice press release.
The effort will train agents on developing violent crime cases using the Hobbs Act, prohibiting robbery or extortion of interstate or foreign commerce; VICAR, targeting violent crimes in aid of racketeering; and RICO, the racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations act. The new initiative has already trained 60 officers.
The group plans on resource sharing as well. For instance, HPD’s Violent Offenders Squad (VOS) will lend a hand to other investigators when it comes to following up on high volume or highly organized suspects of commercial business robberies, take-over style robberies, serial robberies, and juvenile or gang-related robberies.
“The announcement comes on the heels of news that Houston was recently named as one of the 12 cities to join the Department of Justice’s newly-organized National Public Safety Partnership (PSP).”
The National PSP was recently unveiled by Attorney General Jeff Session as part of a broader effort to target violent crime.
“Turning back the recent troubling increase in violent crime in our country is a top priority of the Department of Justice and the Trump Administration, as we work to fulfill the President’s promise to make America safe again,” said Sessions. Houston is the only Texas city currently included in the partnership.