HOUSTON – People in one of Houston’s wealthiest neighborhoods say crime has gotten so bad, they’re scared.
Those who live in West University Place say the crime is out of control and they won’t even go out at night anymore.
It was recently ranked as one of the Top Ten wealthiest towns in America, but residents are learning firsthand that no zip code is immune to crime.
“I’ve been here 35 years and this is not West University.” said Heidi Dugan.
As the top selling realtor in West U, Dugan hasn’t been able to explain a sudden shift that seems to have almost everyone in the area on edge.
“All of a sudden, there’s been a rash in crime and I’m just super concerned.” said Dugan. “I walk at night and you walk your dog and it just changes your neighborhood if you’re thinking ‘I can’t let my kids go out and play.'”
The recent stabbing of her neighbor and the mass shooting in the area that wounded nine people only add to growing concerns over the recent and unusual uptick in burglaries and robberies.
And just last week, on National Night Out, police say the wife of Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kelly was shoved down in their driveway and was robbed of her purse.
“It’s actually terrifying. I’m getting to the point I won’t open my door.” said Ellen Vestewig, another West U resident.
Meanwhile, Dugan has been hitting the pavement and organizing an army of fed up neighbors. They plan to show up in numbers at Monday’s city council meeting.
The city is considering adding two additional police officers to the force as well as installing surveillance cameras at some of the main entrances into the neighborhood.
“We’re not armed and we’re not prepared and it’s frightening.” said Vestewig.
West U isn’t the first city outside of Houston to consider arming itself with 24-7 surveillance.
Sugar Land signed a $1.6 million dollar plan in 2014 for crime prevention cameras to be put up in 27 spots and the city is now planning on putting more up, attributing cameras to successful results.
“We will do whatever…we will do a fundraiser, whatever it is – let’s get it done.” said Dugan.
West U residents will have one more chance to voice their concerns before the council votes on the new security measures. The council meeting is Monday at 6 p.m.