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Law enforcement reaches out to Asian community

Monday, November 08, 2010

When some people think of the Sharpstown area, they think of crime, and that's why the Houston Police Department is focusing its efforts there and working with the Asian community to keep residents and businesses safe.

The Diho Square shopping center at Bellaire and Ranchester is one of the safer places in the greater Sharpstown area, in part because of a Houston police presence. And HPD says they want to reach out to other parts of Sharpstown to reduce crime there, too.

On a busy afternoon in the Hong Kong restaurant in Sharpstown, crime is far from the minds of customers like Gwen Lim.

"This part of town is pretty safe," she said.

That's in part because of state-of-the-art security cameras, like one put up by the Greater Sharpstown Management District.

And Lim also feels safe because of the Houston Police Department store front in the Diho Square shopping center, where the restaurant is located.

"That way, I feel they're more involved and I don't feel not safe at all," she said.

But customers don't feel quite as safe in other parts of Sharpstown, like in a shopping center at Harwin and Fondren, where on March 2 of this year, gunmen opened fire in a small family-owned store as they tried to rob it.

That's why the Houston Police Department on Monday announced a bigger push to reach out to the predominantly Asian-American population of Sharpstown, starting with breaching a language barrier between HPD and recent Asian immigrants.

"The significance of today is that these safety brochures have been translated into different languages," said Houston Police Department Assistant Chief John Chen.

They've been translated into languages like Chinese, Nepalese and Burmese. The brochures cover identity theft, burglary prevention and robbery prevention, among other crimes -- simple things native English speakers might take for granted.

But Perry Hu, who came to Houston 30 years ago, says is actually a big deal.

"So many people don't speak English," he said. "They don't understand, so we need the translation."

And back at the Hong Kong restaurant, Lim says raising that kind of awareness could go a long way in reducing crime in Sharpstown.

"A small little thing will create big ripples, so you see it's a ripple effect," he said.

Dozens more security cameras will go up in the Sharpstown area in the next few months.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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