Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) sent a letter of support to the Attorney General of the United States, Alberto Gonzales to strongly consider including the City of Houston Police Department in the Initiative for Safer Communities study. This new study was recently announced by Attorney General Gonzales at the International Association of Chiefs of Police to target violent crime prevention efforts in selected communities across America that have shown unexplained increases in crime.

According to Houston Police Departments figures, since 2005, there has been an increase in the following: 30 percent for murder, 4 percent for rape, 5 percent for robbery and 2 percent for aggravated assault. Gang related murder has increased an astounding 90 percent this year.

During hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the city welcomed displaced individuals and helped them along the path to building new lives, said Poe. But with the good came the bad and the city saw an increase in the number of criminals on the streets. In conjunction with rising crime rates, HPD is faced with a large illegal immigrant population that creates an additional financial burden in policing crimes in the community. The Initiative for Safer Communities study will allow HPD to identify possible factors contributing to the increase and the tools to combat crime in our city.

Congressman Poe served as a Harris County Criminal Court Judge for 22 years, presiding over 25,000 cases. He has been a leading advocate for law enforcement officers and victims of crime. For more information on Congressman Poe, please visit his website,