Waco: Residents of one neighborhood consider PID to solve crime problem

Published: Feb. 26, 2018 at 10:55 PM CST
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Continuously high crime rates have pushed the Waco Downtown Neighborhood Association to think outside the box when it comes to curbing the problem.

Over the past several years, according to the Waco Police Department’s statistics, the are from Waco Drive to Interstate 35 and from the Brazos River to 17th Street has ranked number two and sometimes number one as the zone with the highest occurrences.

These incidents range from drugs and assaults to vehicle and home burglaries.

Andrew Lopez, Downtown (Formerly Brazos) Neighborhood Association president said, many of these incidents happen between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. while people are at work or school.

To fix the problem he wants more police patrols.

He and others are discussing creating a new Public Improvement District or PID.

"The PID provides additional security service and in doing that, for the time being doing that right now until our numbers can come down to where they are at least satisfactory. I think that something that's needed,"

Lopez said.

A PID is similar to a homeowners’ association but has more power.

To establish a PID, Waco city officials said the group as to create a petition where more than 50 percent of the home and business owners in the area support it.

Their dues or assessment would pay for this security service.

It’s in addition to what the police department already provides.

"That's not a bad part of town. It's just there is more activity there," Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

"Certainly, we understand that when you have a large population of people that comes in to a particular area we try to focus a few more resources. There may be more patrols put officers downtown in that area when the crime might be highest higher and we're doing that," he said.

There are at least two other PIDs in Waco that use their funds for both private or off-duty law enforcement officer to patrol.