Chief Hurtt is going to add a stronger police presence to Acre Homes in an attempt to find a suspect responsible for the deaths of multiple young women in the course of one week. Whether the intimidating police force will solve a murder or round up suspects through racial and economic profiling remains to be seen.
Mayor White claimed that much has already been done for Acre Homes in regards to the homicides, citing the clearing of lots, a reduction in homicides since last year, and the removal of trash.
Police chief pledges more patrols in Acres Homes
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt told a crowd of more than 100 Acres Homes residents Monday evening that more officers will patrol their community after another body was recently found dumped there.
“I believe somebody in this area knows the suspect, because people talk,” Hurtt said during the town hall meeting at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church. “We want to know about it.”
The latest victim, Willie Bianca Jones, 18, was found Sept. 22 near a ditch in the 1100 block of Bland.
Hurtt said his investigators have “promising leads” in the case and he would go public the moment a suspect is arrested.
Although police investigators had said Jones’ body was the seventh found dumped in the northwest neighborhood since January 2006, police Lt. Ron Walker said Monday that one victim was found outside of the neighborhood.
He said leads indicate that case is not tied to those found in Acres Homes.
Two of the victims’ bodies showed evidence they were stabbed to death, while tests on the others have yet to reveal a cause of death, Walker said.
He added that there is no evidence a single killer is behind all of the deaths.
State Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, called on Hurtt to provide an “intimidating” police presence in Acres Homes to resolve the problem that has long plagued the area.
“We don’t need No. 8,” Turner said. “We need this problem solved and we need it solved right now.”
Mayor Bill White, who did not attend the meeting, recently said his administration has done more to remedy problems within Acres Homes.
White has said the city cleared more than 880 lots and removed 40 tons of heavy trash last year.
White said the homicide rate in the police district that includes Acres Homes is down 40 percent from January to August over the same period last year.