Rose Terry, the Kingwood division commander of the Houston Police Department (HPD), came to the Oct. 15 Kingwood Positive Interaction Program (PIP) meeting as its featured guest speaker for a reason. Normally, representatives of specialized police activities or law enforcement-related organizations such as the Houston Lake Patrol or Crime Stoppers are the featured speakers. They explain how their jobs function, work to provide effective law enforcement, and promote good community relations. However, Commander Terry had a special and personal announcement to make and she wanted those active in Kingwood’s PIP to hear the news directly from her.
When Kingwood HPD Officer Daniel Von Quintus, the Kingwood PIP liaison, introduced her, Terry began by summarizing the general state of criminal activity at the current time in the areas patrolled by Kingwood HPD. She noted that overall Kingwood area crime was down from the summer months as it often is after schools reopen in the fall. She explained that there had been a lot of crime in previous months concentrated in the Highway 59/69 “corridor” areas of commercial businesses, including the hotels and auto dealers, especially the burglaries of motor vehicles (BMVs). As a result, Kingwood HPD made that area one of special emphasis and focus, especially the crimes occurring at night, and there seems to be improvement.
Terry said, “Crime in the corridors is really high because of all of the hotels along the Eastex Freeway. Their lighting was just terrible. We have tried to make a change there.”
Terry explained that she asked her officers to reach out to the businesses to make changes to improve the lighting situation. If the officers could not get cooperation at the local management level, they went to the next level above that and even higher if necessary to get the individual businesses to help improve their lighting. As a result, there has been much improvement in both lighting and less crime.
“Now when I go through there it is bright. There is plenty of good light, even at the La Quinta,” she said. Terry also noted there had been a lot of crime last summer at the auto dealerships located along the corridor.
“The HPD Auto Theft Division has been working with the auto dealers and has conducted some initiatives. As a result, we have seen a real improvement,” said Terry.
Terry reminded everyone that criminal activity, especially BMVs, will likely increase as the holidays approach. Packages and other items like purses left visible inside cars become more frequent targets for thieves. She emphasized that these items all need to be stored out of sight, preferably in the trunk of the car. Terry suggested that women who are going to leave their purses in the car while shopping should put them in the trunk before actually parking in a commercial parking area to avoid being seen putting them there as they leave the vehicle.
Terry then addressed the main reason she wanted to speak to the group.
“Also, I want to say that some of you may have heard already that I am retiring,” she said. “I am going into my 34th year and there comes a time when you have to say, 'Rose, you have to take time to do some things for yourself.' And that is what I am going to do. Am I going to miss it? I am sure I will; it’s an adjustment. I spoke to the Public Safety Committee meeting and I wanted to speak to you as well.”
Terry will be leaving about the first of January. The specific date is not yet determined but she emphasized until she actually leaves the HPD she will be on the job in Kingwood and nothing will change. Regarding her replacement, she said she has strongly advised her superiors that the officer in charge of Kingwood Station needs to be both active in community involvement and one who is a dedicated to being a hard-working station commander.
The Kingwood PIP meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Kingwood Church of Christ, 2901 Woodland Hills Dr. It is open to the public and all residents are welcome. Both HPD and the Kingwood Service Association’s Public Safety Committee encourage area residents to attend and participate.