Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Safe Child Initiative Delivers Results

Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Katherine Cabaniss
and HCSO Criminal Warrant Teams

April’s focus was on child abuse prevention for Crime Stoppers of Houston.  The Sixth Annual Safe Child Initiative worked to keep Houston’s children safe where they live, learn and play.  Throughout the month, Crime Stoppers engaged in an educational campaign to prevent child abuse in Houston, and apprehend offenders at large throughout the community.  This year, the Safe Child Initiative resulted in the arrest of more fugitives than in all of the previous initiatives combined.

One hundred and sixty one offenders that may have otherwise remained at large were apprehended as a direct result of the combined efforts of Crime Stoppers and local law enforcement.  Their charges ranged from DWI with a Child Passenger to the Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.  Each of the fugitive offenders was apprehended during the month long warrant sweep conducted by Crime Stoppers’ law enforcement partners in the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, and the US Marshal’s Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force.

It was an honor to work our law enforcement officers in this initiative. As a result of their hard work, one hundred and sixty one felons are off the streets, and no longer hiding in our neighborhoods.

Eight hundred and forty seven fugitives were featured through Crime Stoppers media programs and on the Crime Stoppers website www.crime-stoppers.org.  Ten percent of the fugitives selected as the Crime Stoppers “Feature Fugitives” released to local media were arrested based off of tips called into Crime Stoppers.

One such fugitive was Howard Huffman.  Huffman was charged with the Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child under 14 after assaulting a female child while she slept.  His whereabouts remained unknown to authorities with an active warrant for his arrest.

On April 11, 2012, Huffman’s profile was released to the local media as a Crime Stoppers “Feature Fugitive.”  The very next day, a tip was received by Crime Stoppers placing Huffman in Phoenix, Arizona.  Deputies with the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force coordinated with US Marshals in Arizona, and apprehended Huffman on April 25, 2012.  Four additional out of state arrests were made during the course of the initiative.

At the May 4th celebratory press conference, hosted at Crime Stoppers Headquarters, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia commended the dedication of the teams responsible for these arrests.  “I’d like to applaud these crime fighters; these hunters of criminals.” Garcia went on to highlight the significance April’s Safe Child Initiative carries.  “Our children are our most precious resource,” said Garcia, “we will continue to put every resource toward keeping them safe.”

While the 2012 Safe Child Initiative has come to a close, Houston citizens are reminded that child predators and felony fugitives remain at large in our community.   Crime Stoppers reminds Houstonians to stay vigilant against crime throughout the year.  With that sentiment in mind, Houston Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Gonzalez cautioned citizens, “Just remember, child abuse continues year round… Keeping our children safe is something that we should always do.”

Programs such as the Annual Safe Child Initiative are at the core of Crime Stoppers’ mission to prevent serious crime in Harris County.  Continued efforts throughout the year will target other forms of serious crime, in an effort to keep Houstonians safe.     

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