Constable Patrol

Announcing the 2019 WHCA Constable Patrol Program by Michael Graves

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Since 2011, Woodland Heights Civic Association has administered a Constable Patrol Program, serviced by Harris County Precinct One. Our Constable Patrol Program is a supplemental police force that provides additional safety and security to our neighborhood through the work of two deputies hired to patrol the neighborhood for two 40-hour shifts per week.

Program Benefits:

  • Vacation watch and lock checks

  • Home security checks

  • Ability to link home security alert system to Precinct 1 dispatch vs. Harris county main dispatch

  • Constable Patrol sign in yard

  • Increased police presence in neighborhood

New Discounts & Incentives
In 2018, just 415 of the approximately 2000 homes in the Woodland Heights neighborhood funded the entire program. In an effort to grow the program’s participation rate and continue to provide the additional neighborhood security, we’ve arrived at a new fee structure for 2019. The rates are reduced, and include incentives for both early renewal and referring new program subscribers.

2019 Program Rates:
Early-Bird Rate: $300* (Renew before April 1)
Regular Rate: $350 (After March 31st)
Referral credit: $ 25**

*$300 paid by check, $310 if paid online using a credit card.
**Credit for each new subscriber (non-2018 participant) is $25 towards your renewal in 2020.

Now is the time to take advantage of the Early-Bird rate and help keep our neighborhood safe!
Visit https://www.woodland-heights.org/store/constable-patrol to join us in protecting the Woodland Heights.

Questions?
Don’t hesitate to contact: Cody McGregor at security@woodland-heights.org

The WHCA invites you to join or renew your subscription to the 2018-19 Constable Patrol Program by Michael Graves

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Neighbors,

We live in one of the best neighborhoods in Houston. While we all enjoy the many benefits of the Woodland Heights, there are unfortunately a few downsides. Clean neighborhoods filled with trusting people that are near major highway systems and large city centers often attract criminals and individuals that look to take advantage of the situation.

Click on image to see larger version.

In no way is our neighborhood comparable to a crime-ridden New York or Chicago gangland, but there are individuals that seek to upset our way of life. Consider this recent post from the Crime & Safety section of NextDoor (pictured right.) In reference to an attempted break-in at their home, the homeowner states very plainly;

“...for those that are on the fence regarding the Constable program, Deputy Vest was here almost immediately after being alerted.”

The Constable Patrol Program helps keep our community safe. Through the efforts of two dedicated Constables patrolling our neighborhood, we’re able to keep crime to a minimum, and when needed, have a quick reaction force on stand-by. Not to mention the added value of vacation checks while you’re away, home security checks, rapid response to HPD dispatch requests and timely assistance when needed.

However, it is our responsibility as homeowners and members of this great community to fund this program. Since 2011, Woodland Heights Civic Association has administered a Constable Patrol Program, serviced by Harris County Precinct One. Our Constable Patrol Program is a supplemental police force, currently two deputies, hired to patrol our neighborhood for two 40-hour shifts per week.

In 2017, only 400 of approximately 2000 homes in the Woodland Heights supported this effort to keep our neighborhood safe. While some have renewed their subscriptions, going forward into 2018 we are at risk of losing all or part of the Constable Patrol Program.

Will you join this effort to ensure we keep the Constable Patrol Program? if your prefer to pay by check you can signup by mail using the form on the back of the Constable Patrol flier (downloadable here) or online at http://www.woodland-heights.org.

Should you have questions feel free to reach out to Cody McGregor, WHCA VP of
Security at: security@woodland-heights.org

The Constable Patrol: Introducing Deputy Hathhorn by Michael Graves

This post is part of an effort to introduce the people who patrol the Woodland Heights as part of the Constable Patrol Program.

As a native Houstonian, Deputy Hathhorn is the night time patrol Deputy for Woodland Heights. While Deputy Hathhorn is new to the Woodland Heights contract, he has been with Harris
County Constable Precinct 1 for six years.

Deputy Hathhorn served for three of those years as a Reserve Deputy. He enjoys serving others. He served the City of Friendswood, Texas as a Fire Fighter and Emergency Medical Technician for six years. In 2016 he was awarded a Bravery Medal
by Constable Alan Rosen. Without regard to his own personal safety, Deputy Hathhorn placed himself in harm’s way to savea citizen.

He has been married for sixteen years and has two children. He loves dogs, raises cattle, and enjoys outdoor life. Deputy Hathhorn believes that community policing has a huge impact
in Woodland Heights. He serves this community as if it were his own community.

The Constable Patrol: Introducing Deputy Vest by Michael Graves

This post is part of an effort to introduce the people who patrol the Woodland Heights as part of the Constable Patrol Program.

Deputy David Vest is originally from Alvin, Texas and now resides in Houston, graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in criminal science. He's been patrolling the neighborhood for three years and has been employed with Harris County Constables Office since 2005. Has a brother that is also a Deputy Sheriff in another county. He enjoys hunting, fishing, outdoor recreational activities and attends as many Texas A&M football games as his time allows. He enjoys patrolling the Woodland Heights because of the small community relations and its citizens.

January 2017 Constable Patrol Update by Michael Graves

Subscriber Stats

The Constable Patrol operates on a fiscal year ending March 31. Through January, we have approximately 409 subscribers, which is below our usual amount from past years. To sustain two deputy shifts for an entire year, we need 460 subscribers. Luckily, we have had a little bit of a surplus to help fill the gap this year due to a donation by Greystar Apartments. We have about 1-2 months left of a surplus. In other words, if we do not get our membership numbers up next year, we may not be able to have two full deputy shifts for 12 months. More details to come next month as we officially start the renewal campaign.

Please support the Constable Patrol, and please let me know of any ideas you have on how to improve the program and make it sustainable moving forward.

Testimonial

Here is a recent testimonial from a subscriber about her experience with the vacation watch.

“I sent in a vacation watch form to let the constable know I would have a house guest. I indicated on the form I would be in town. I have a new Ring Video Doorbell Pro, and was surprised when a female officer went to my front door and tried the handle. Then the next day I saw remotely that a male officer did the same thing.
On the third day it happened when I was home and went upstairs and turned on the light - and I saw the officer parked across the street, waiting. I called the constable to ask why they kept trying my front door. It turned out that somehow it was entered into "the system" that I was on vacation. I felt so protected that they would check my house EVERY DAY.
I also have experienced that the constable will show up in under 10 minutes, while HPD can take up to an hour. The constable patrol is well worth the investment."

Crime Stats

Here is a summary of the criminal activity in our neighborhood over the past month.

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Crime Map

Here is a map giving a snapshot of the criminal activity, showing most activity around Houston Avenue near I-45. Legend: car (thefts of/from vehicle); star (burglaries); ring (other theft); hand (violent crime).

Constable Patrol Activity

Wonder what our Constables do, other than generally patrol the neighborhood to be seen and prevent crime? Here is a summary of “Contract Activity Report.” There were 403 activities logged, about half coming during our day shift and half during our evening shift. Some activities were logged by constables patrolling nearby neighborhoods when our constables were off duty (which is another perk of the program).

We remind everyone for a crime in progress, please call 911 first

If our deputies are on duty, they should be monitoring those calls, though you can also call Precinct One dispatch after calling 911 for crimes in progress.   Do not hesitate to call Precinct One for something that doesn’t look right.  Our deputies want you to err on the side of calling things in.  Our neighborhood is big, and you can help direct our deputies to suspicious activity.    

Brad Snead,
VP-Security WHCA

Constable Patrol: June 2016 by Mark Sternfels

Newsletter readers: To view charts of crime stats please visit this article on the WHCA website.

The Constable Patrol operates on a fiscal year ending March 31. Through mid-July, we have approximately 375 subscribers, and 460 are needed to make two shifts sustainable long-term. If you have not renewed, please do so nowIf membership does not increase, at some point likely in early 2017 we will have to reassess whether we have the available funds to continue to support two patrols. We will make a push at mid-year, and I’m hopeful we will ultimately meet our targets.  You can also find information for membership on the Woodland Heights webpage. Please support the Constable Patrol.

WHCA Crime Reprot

Around 90% of theft from vehicles was on Studewood and White Oak in and around commercial areas, and is as likely to occur at lunchtime as at night. We had one burglary of a building (I believe it was a garage) in the 300 block of Highland.

While not in the neighborhood, most months we see one or more assaults or robberies in the 3600 block of North Main. In June there were no assaults or robberies, but several businesses were broken into — please be aware of your surroundings when in that area.

While not reflected in the above statistics, the Constables made two arrests in the neighborhood in June. One for DWI (500 block Teetshorn 10:54 pm on a Friday, and one for drug possession (1000 block of Studewood 11:27 pm on a Saturday).

Car theft 2300 block of White Oak; motorcycle theft 500 block of Bayland.

WHCA Constable Patrol Statistics

We remind everyone for a crime in progress, please call 911 first. If our deputies are on duty, they should be monitoring those calls, though you can also call Precinct One dispatch after calling 911 for crimes in progress. Our deputies come to work in our neighborhood, and remain through their shift, unless they are called to respond to a nearby contract. When they stop to look at something or take some action, they keep a log, so we have a general idea of their activities. For June 2016 here is some of their activity:

 

Number Activity
19 Traffic stops, resulting in 7 citations. The deputies have radar and use it to monitor speeds in areas where there are complaints, and they pay particular attention to speeds in school zones;
2 Drug/alcohol-related arrests: one DWI and one drug possession; all occurring on the night shift.
5 Suspicious person call responses (please do not hesitate to call about something that does not look right).
8 Suspicious vehicle call responses
17 Number of times they stopped to check something in the parks (mostly along White Oak, Stude and Usener).
166 Number of times they stopped to check something in the neighborhood (not otherwise included in these statistics).
1 House alarm responses.
12 Miscellaneous: responses to traffic issues (?), various disturbances/loud noise, gunshots, mischief (?)
24 “Meet the Citizen” – this is a conversation with a member of the neighborhood in a fashion that’s not covered above, (e.g. to introduce themselves or to answer a question). Our deputies are very service oriented, so if you see a deputy and have a question, or just want to say hello please flag them down.

Steve Howard, WHCA, VP of Security

Constable Patrol: March 2016 by Mark Sternfels

Newsletter readers: To view charts of crime stats please visit this article on the WHCA website.

The Constable Patrol operates on a fiscal year ending March 31, and we are in the midst of this year’s renewal campaign.  We recently sent a mailer to everyone in the neighborhood inviting you to support the Constable Patrol and the Civic Association.   You can also find information for this on the Woodland Heights webpage.  Please support the Constable Patrol.

WHCA Crime Report

It is the time of year where we start to see an increase in theft of yard equipment and other crimes of opportunity involving things taken from yards, porches and open garages. Don’t leave valuable items unattended for even a brief period of time. Theft from cars continues to be the most common crime, many taking place in the parking lots of area businesses. Please don’t leave valuables in your vehicle.

The City is using a new crime reporting service which provides limited detail regarding types of theft. Starting in March, if it isn’t theft from a vehicle, it is classified as “other” which typically includes non-breaking and entering type property theft. Assaults: 200 block of E. Woodland (of family member), 800 block of Studewood; Burglaries: residence 2500 block of White Oak, residence 900 block of Byrne; Auto Theft: 600 block of Byrne.

We remind everyone for a crime in progress, please call 911 first. If our deputies are on duty, they should be monitoring those calls, though you can also call Precinct One dispatch after calling 911 for crimes in progress. Our deputies come to work in our neighborhood, and remain through their shift, unless they are called to respond to a nearby contract.  When they stop to look at something or take some action, they keep a log, so we have a general idea of their activities. For March 2016 here is some of their activity:

Number Activity
16 Traffic stops, resulting in 7 citations. The deputies have radar and use it to monitor speeds in areas where there are complaints, and they pay particular attention to speeds in school zones;
8 Suspicious person call responses (we average about 10 per month – please do not hesitate to call about something that does not look right)
2 Responses to calls about (door to door) solicitors (we usually have 8-10 per month).
8 Suspicious vehicle call responses
12 Number of times they stopped to check something in the parks (mostly along White Oak, Stude and Usener).
152 Number of times they stopped to check something in the neighborhood (not otherwise included in these statistics).
5 House alarm responses.
6 Miscellaneous: responses to traffic issues (2), various disturbances/loud noise, gunshots, mischief (4)
32 “Meet the Citizen” – this is a conversation with a member of the neighborhood in a fashion that’s not covered above, (e.g. to introduce themselves or to answer a question). Our deputies are very service oriented, so if you see a deputy and have a question, or just want to say hello please flag them down.

Constable Patrol: August 2015 by Mark Sternfels

(If you're viewing this story in our newsletter please visit the WHCA website to view graphs.)

Crime statistics

As always, theft from vehicles is the most prevalent crime. Please don’t leave valuables in your car.

The City of Houston is usually 3 or more months behind in releasing monthly crime stats. To stay more current, about once a week I monitor daily crime reports, and accumulate the data to arrive at the crime data presented here.

WH Crime report

WH vs. Entire 2A30 Beat

For August: Robbery of business 2700 block of Houston Avenue. Auto thefts in the 2400 block of White Oak and the 1100 block of Usener.

Constable Patrol Statistics

Our permanent night shift deputy has completed the 8 week training of his new police dog and we are pleased to welcome his return to duty in our neighborhood. We remind everyone that for a crime in progress, please call 911 first, principally because we do not have 24/7 deputy coverage. If our deputies are on duty, they should be monitoring those calls, though you can also call Precinct One dispatch after calling 911.

Our deputies come to work in our neighborhood, and remain through their shift, unless they are called to respond to a nearby contract. The deputies spend their shift cruising the neighborhood. When they stop to look at something or take some action, they keep a log, so we have a general idea of their activities.

  • 46 traffic stops, resulting in 11 citations, (the deputies have radar and use it to monitor speeds in areas where there are complaints about speeding, and they do strictly enforce speeds in school zones; the stops are throughout the neighborhood, but about half were on Studewood, Bayland, Watson and White Oak)
  • 2 arrests (both drug related, in the 600 and 1100 blocks of Omar)
  • 3 responses to criminal mischief
  • 11 suspicious person call responses
  • 8 suspicious vehicle call responses
  • 106 times they stopped to check something in the parks (especially along White Oak)
  • 270 times they stopped to check something in the neighborhood
  • 6 house alarm responses (it’s been 4 months since my cat set off the alarm)
  • 2 disturbance/loud noise complaint investigations
  • 32 “Meet the Citizen” – this is basically a conversation with a member of the neighborhood in a fashion that’s not covered above,  (e.g., to introduce themselves or answer a question).

Our deputies are very service oriented, so if you see a deputy and have a question, or just want to say hello – please flag them down.

Constable Patrol Update by Mark Sternfels

WHCA Crime & Constable Patrol Stats

HPD Beat 2A30

If you're reading this in our monthly newsletter please view this article on our website to view a bar chart showing crime statistics over the past three months.

As always, theft from vehicles is the most prevalent crime. Please don’t leave valuables in your car. For July: Burglaries involved residences in the 100 block of Alma, 3700 block of Bradley, and 900 block of Woodland. Auto theft in the 3700 block of Bradley.

The City of Houston is usually 3 months behind in releasing monthly crime stats. To stay more current, about once a week I monitor daily crime reports and accumulate the data to arrive at the crime data presented here.  

Hopefully, many of you got to meet our deputies at the July 4th parade. Our day shift deputy is waiting for it to cool off a bit before he gets back on his bike. Our permanent night shift deputy is about to complete his 8 week training course with his new police dog. During his training several other deputies are covering his shift, and as always we receive support from surrounding contracts (Heights, Garden Oaks etc.). It is common for deputies from nearby contracts to respond to calls in our area as Precinct One endeavors to provide prompt service when we call.     

Our deputies come to work in our neighborhood and remain through their shift unless they are called to respond to a nearby contract. The deputies spend their shift cruising the neighborhood.  When they stop to look at something or take some action, they keep a log, so we have a general idea of their activities. For July 2015 here is some of their activity:

  • 21 traffic stops, resulting in 10 citations, (the deputies have radar and use it to monitor speeds in areas where there are complaints about speeding, and they do strictly enforce speeds in school zones)
  • 2 arrests (both drug related, in the 800 and 1000 blocks of Studewood)
  • 3 responses to criminal mischief
  • 6 suspicious person call responses
  • 16 suspicious vehicle call responses (resulting in 9 stops, 3 warnings, 1 citation)
  • 85 times they stopped to check something in the parks (especially along White Oak)
  • 222 times they stopped to check something in the neighborhood 
  • 7 house alarm responses (zero caused by my cat)
  • 2 disturbance/loud noise complaint investigations 
  • 37 “Meet the Citizen” – this is basically a conversation with a member of the neighborhood in a fashion that’s not covered above,  (e.g., to introduce themselves or answer a question).

Our deputies are very service oriented, so if you see a deputy and have a question, or just want to say hello –  flag them down.

Steve Howard
VP-Security WHCA

 

Constable Patrol Updates by Mark Sternfels

Subscriptions

We are at 418 subscribers, which is a bit above where we were at this time last year. Including our reserve, at this level of participation we can continue with two patrols through at least March 2017 – possibly longer. To sustain two patrols indefinitely, we need to get long-term participation at or above 465. As has always been the case, we will continue to add subscribers throughout the year so we may get there yet. We continue to consider other ways to reach out and increase participation. If you haven’t joined, please consider doing so. If you are already a member, please don’t hesitate to talk up the program with neighbors who aren’t members.

Activity Report

With two 40 hour shifts, we have a significant law enforcement presence in our neighborhood. Our deputies drive to our neighborhood from home, and essentially spend their 40-hour shift in our neighborhood, generally leaving only when called to respond to a specific incident elsewhere. That works both ways, as we often have deputies from the Heights and Garden Oaks contracts responding to calls in our neighborhood. Here are some stats on April Constable Patrol activity in Woodland Heights:

  • Responded to: 13 house alarms, 5 calls about solicitors, 1 stranded motor vehicle, 22 reports of suspicious people, 21 reports of suspicious vehicles, 1 welfare check
  • 50 traffic stops (speeding in school zones is a problem – our Constables have radar!); investigated 5 traffic hazards (mostly on Watson)
  • 1 criminal mischief, 1 disturbance loud noise, 1 disturbance other, 2 drug possession
  • Approximately 218 times they stopped to investigate something unusual or suspicious; 88 stops in our parks – predominately along White Oak, and 130 throughout the neighborhood
  • 58 times they stopped and talked to folks in the neighborhood not in relation to any particular call or problem, more in the nature of meet and greet.

Crime Statistics

If you can't see the bar graph above view it here http://www.woodland-heights.org/news/2015/5/30/constable-patrol-updates

Explanation

Numbers reflect total area covered by police beat #2A30 which includes Houston Heights, North Norhill/Proctor Plaza, Sunset Heights, and more. In April the most thefts occurred in streets (parked cars) and restaurant parking lots. There was only one theft from a residence. All three burglaries were of residences. Because the city takes several months to post this data cumulatively for an entire month, to stay more current we go in and extract this data manually, on a weekly basis. We're still perfecting our capture methodology and hope to offer meaningful comparisons of the data in the coming months.

Meeting Recap — Friends of Woodland Park, METRO, WHCA Updates by Mark Sternfels

Thanks to all who came to last night’s WHCA General Meeting. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a brief recap: 
 
- We updated the neighborhood on the WHCA’s efforts to fund two Constable shifts. We have fully funded one shift, but are still approximately 75 subscribers shy of being able to fully fund the second shift without dipping into our reserve account. It's never too late to subscribe.
 
- The Friends of Woodland Park did a wonderful presentation to update the neighborhood on the beautification efforts in Woodland Park. They also unveiled a model of a beautiful new sculpture installation called Firefly Field by Houston artist and fourth generation Heights resident, Dylan Conner. Approval from the City of Houston is pending with a fundraising campaign to follow. Visit the FWP website for more details, and please support this great organization. 
 
- We heard reports from METRO regarding the bus route on Bayland and Woodland. More details coming in another post.
                                                                                                                                                                                          
- We also received updates from the offices of Representative Alvarado and Council Member Gonzales. 
 
- Finally, we reminded the neighborhood that we’re now transitioning away from a paper newsletter to an e-newsletter. If you haven’t already signed up to receive the e-newsletter, please do so at our website.
 
Thanks again to those who came out.  We’ll see you in July!
 
Tim McConn
President, WHCA

Spring Security Tips by Mark Sternfels

Our annual Constable Patrol renewal campaign is in the second month, and we are still short of the participation needed to continue to support two patrol shifts. We are reaching out to the neighborhood in various ways to obtain your support for the Constable Patrol.

Even when our deputies are not on patrol, we get coverage from nearby contracts. Your new VP of Security's cat set off the house alarm last week shortly after one of our shifts had ended. Within 6 minutes of the alarm, deputies showed up from both the Heights and Garden Oaks contracts. The cat was let off with a warning.

Spring is a time where we see more property theft involving yard-care equipment, and things like porch furniture. When working in the yard, don’t leave tools and equipment unattended if they are in sight of the street. Have electric garage doors but sometimes forget to close them? Check into something like the Garage Butler – an easy to install device that will automatically close your garage doors.

You can sign up to receive email or text crime alerts for the area by going to the Precinct One Constable’s website and going to Crime Alerts under the Sign Up drop-down menu. Let's all watch out for our neighbors, and keep our neighborhood safe.