Houston frequently has used “hot spot” policing, sending extra officers to an area where crime is increasing. The Houston Chronicle says a study commissioned by the Houston Police Department found that dispatching members of its 70-officer Crime Reduction Unit to neighborhoods didn’t always have the results they were looking for. In four different deployments, teams did not reduce violent crime but did tamp down property crime, said the Police Research Center at Sam Houston State University.
“There was no statistical evidence to show that the CRU presence had a significant impact on violent crime,” said the 2009 study. One police official said the study may be used as justification to eliminate or downsize the unit as Police Chief Charles McClelland searches for ways to meet a $39 million budget reduction target for fiscal 2012. Former Chief Harold Hurtt established the unit in 2007 with 60 officers, and they have been deployed “hot spots” in the city with the highest crime rates. The unit’s orders are to take gang members, drug traffickers, and illegal guns off the streets.