Fed up with a recent rash of robberies, residents from the northwest Houston neighborhood of Oak Forest have joined forces to collect $216,000 for their own security detail.
The Leader reports that S.E.A.L.S. — an area firm that offers maritime security against pirates in international waters — will have three armed officers patrolling Oak Forest streets for a year starting in November. The private company already provides similar services for 45 other local communities, including Sharpstown.
Nearly 1,000 homeowners funded the effort along with corporate sponsors like Oakington Realty and Perry Homes.
Nearly 1,000 homeowners funded the effort along with corporate sponsors like Oakington Realty, which donated $2,000 to the cause. Building company Perry Homes, which has replaced at least 30 of neighborhood's original bungalows with new high-end construction, chipped in a full $10,000.
While S.E.A.L.S. will protect the entire neighborhood, those who paid the company's $250 annual fee will receive extra benefits, such as vacation check-ups and safety escorts.
An ongoing spate of crime — including an incident in which a World War II veteran had the inside of his home vandalized — has Oak Forest residents on edge for more than a year. In June, the quiet neighborhood made national headlines for participating in a controversial program that offers free shotguns and training to concerned citizens.
For area homeowner Tracy Brandon, who lost $20,000 in stolen property this spring, the comfort from having additional protection from S.E.A.L.S. is well worth the fee.
“I called 911 twice, it took about 45 minutes for H.P.D. to get there,” she tells KHOU Ch. 11. “It's scary. We didn't come home for three days and it was really hard to explain to her what happened.”
Watch the KHOU Ch. 11 report: