When Harris County Precinct One constables focus their targeted law enforcement efforts on the streets of Spring Branch, would-be criminals scatter and disappear.

Constable Antonio Hernandez said five deputies and two sergeants proactively work the streets in squad cars and on bicycles from 2 p.m. to midnight every Wednesday through Saturday, and it’s making an obvious difference.

Statistics show burglaries of motor vehicles, prostitution, disorderly conduct, and disturbances at convenience stores have all decreased in the five years that the constables have been concentrating on the area.

The bicycles make it easier for the law enforcement officers to maneuver through parking lots of local businesses and apartment complexes. The Spring Branch Management District keeps track of the top ten apartment complexes with the greatest number of reported crimes and those with the fewest, which helps the officers target their enforcement efforts more efficiently. An active graffiti abatement program also has helped eliminate much of the “tagging” left on public and private property.

“There have been some major improvements in the Marq*E Entertainment Center on I-10 at Silber, where crime was creating a problem for one of the most prominent businesses in the area,” said Josh Hawes, Director of Services for the Spring Branch Management District. “We stepped up our public safety efforts to assist them with that problem. The persistent presence of our officers on bikes has reduced the danger level to just a few kids smoking and drinking in the parking lot––which they also address.” “But it’s not just the minor nuisances that they’re addressing,” Hawes added. “In just the last two years, the constables have broken up a major identity theft ring and worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration to effect several major drug busts. There’s been a precipitous drop in crime due to their proactive policing.”

Residents and business owners can lend a hand by reporting problems directly to Precinct One at 713-697- 3600, or via the Spring Branch Management District web site at www.sbmd.org where a button labeled “report a problem” can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the home page.

“We just hope to keep the lines of communication open with the residents of Spring Branch,” Hernandez said. “We rely on their help telling us where the problem areas are.”