At its Sept. 8 Kingwood Service Association Public Safety Committee meeting, Cmdr. L.J. Baimbridge of the Houston Police Department announced good news for Kingwood and the surrounding community.
“We did get some overtime money and we will have an overtime program that will start very soon. We hope to address the burglary of motor vehicles, the theft of motor vehicles, the catalytic converter thefts and so forth that are happening mainly along Hwy. 59,” Baimbridge said.
Based on the monthly crime reports maintained by the HPD, those two crime categories account for over one third of all the crimes reported in Kingwood this year. Officer Jesse Morales highlighted the magnitude of the cost of these two categories in just the month of August.
“There were five incidents that occurred at hotels along the 59 corridor. There was one ‘jugging’ incident where the complainant went to the Chase Bank and withdrew $3,300 in cash. He stopped at a store right after the bank and the suspect followed him from the bank, broke his window and took the $3,300,” Morales said. He explained other BMV items taken in August included wallets, purses, credit cards, another $410 in cash, computer tablets and two firearms. Losses due to TMVs included one license plate, nine catalytic converters, one taillight, four wheels and rims and various other items removed from vehicles.
Dustin Hodges of Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin’s office explained an ongoing situation regarding a sinkhole that became dangerous Sept. 7 as it suddenly appeared and expanded in size on Kingwood Drive.
“Many of you may have seen the sinkhole that formed on Kingwood Drive yesterday afternoon by Kingwood High School. We were able to get a temporary patch on it overnight and on Friday, Public Works will begin the permanent emergency panel replacement and it will take a week to complete, weather permitting,” he said.
Hodges also updated the committee regarding the removal of accumulated silt underneath road bridges in Kingwood.
“They are just finishing up on the bridge over Ben’s Branch (on Kingwood Drive). Then they will be moving down Kingwood Drive to the bridge over the diversion ditch, near Fire Station No.101,” Hodges said. He explained other bridges on Kingwood Drive east of W. Lake Houston Parkway are still under evaluation as is the bridge on Northpark Drive over the Kingwood diversion ditch.
Eric Vogl of Barrington Village called attention to another safety issue getting worse on Kingwood Drive.
“Eastbound on Kingwood Drive, beyond the fire station at Trailwood Village, there is foliage and growth that occurred this summer and you can’t see the right lane streetlight overhead and at Woodland Hills Drive you have the same issue: the right lane is shielded by shrubs and tree growth,” he said. Paul Touchstone of Kingwood Place pointed out the entire intersection at Woodland Hills was bad and described how the crosswalk sign and light is completely blocked and difficult to see from various parts of the intersection. Hodges committed to getting the issues resolved on behalf of the city of Houston as soon as possible.
In other business, the committee unanimously approved its 2022 Public Safety budget for $20,045. It is unchanged from the current 2021 budget. There were no changes suggested by the KSA member village associations. It will be included in the KSA 2022 budget to be submitted for final approval to the KSA board of directors at its October meeting.
The next Public Safety Committee meeting is scheduled for Wed, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, it will take place as a Zoom teleconference. Those planning to attend should call the Kingwood Association Management office at 281-358-5192 a day or two prior to the meeting to obtain teleconference credentials.