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Sheriff’s Safety Forum presents picture of crime fighting in Aldine

Sheriff’s Deputies made a presentation of crime statistics for the Aldine area, and answered questions from a large audience. ABOVE, East Aldine’s Brian Burke, Captain Mike Koteras, Deputy Ray Scholwinski, and State Representative Armando Walle.

EAST ALDINE – Deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office presented crime statistics to a large audience of residents, Aldine educators, and other officials that filled the meeting room at the East Aldine offices last Wednesday evening. After the presentation, they answered questions from residents on individual crime problems.

Captain Mike Koteras, patrol head for District 2, led the discussion. He said that in the last three months, there had been a decrease in violent crimes, but an increase in non-violent crimes.

Koteras said that in the near future, District 2 would have its own gang unit, and 19 trainees are designated for this district and will become probationary officers after their graduation.

He said that District 2 has 440,000 residents and covers 290 square miles. The average age of a robber is 17 years old, varying from 14 to 21.

Deputy Scholwinski reviewed detailed statistics of various types of crimes experience in Aldine in the last two months, and in a year-to-year comparison.

For January 2020, he noted that in District 2 there were 147 burglaries of motor vehicles, 170 thefts, and 93 auto thefts as well as other smaller amounts of crime categories. There were 317 traffic citations issued, and 13,842 calls for service.

Some of the topics discussed with the audience included the danger of wild hogs in Keith-Wiess park. Trapping of the animals is happening now, was the response. The park is a Houston city park, but it is patrolled by off-duty Sheriff’s deputies under an agreement with the Houston Parks Department.

Some residents said they wanted “speed humps” on their streets to control speeding automobiles, but they were told that Harris County does not usually approve these, even when residents on the street want them.

A question was asked about who has jurisdiction on Little York, the city or the county. Koteras explained that the city usually has first call, and then the county will respond if asked. But he said the decision is actually made by the 911 operators, who use a “Geo-coding” system to determine location.

Sgt. Kelly Hudson, and Deputy Robert Ellis, made a presentation about their CIRT team, which handles mental health calls. These include drug overdoses, suicides, and similar cases. They are one of seven teams in the Sheriff’s office that responds to these, and they work with the Harris County mental health and Psychiatric Hospital.

Koteras urged citizens to use a new internet app known as “Close Watch Harris County” to report crime tips.

One audience member said that she had a serious problem of ditches on her street never being cleaned.

Another reported slow response times, 1 or 2 hours, for deputies to answer a drug report in Pine Village North.

Koteras explained that HCSO was reclassifying many calls, so that there are fewer Priority One calls, helping to answer other calls in a more timely way

The meeting room at the East Aldine offices was full, as residents met with Sheriff’s deputies to hear about public safety issues, and to question and voice their concerns about specific issues in the Aldine neighborhoods.