Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Police Chief Troy Finner recently attended a White House invitation-only discussion on using American Rescue Plan funding to enhance public safety in communities challenged by rising crime over the last two years.
President Joe Biden has been vocal about his belief that Americans deserve to feel safe no matter where they live, and said he is committed to using every tool at his disposal to fight violent crime.
Following the closed-door meeting that included a handful of the nation’s leading mayors and police chiefs, Biden praised Turner for his effective use of ARP funds to help reduce crime. The mayor has invested ARP money for overtime to put 125 more officers on the streets, create comprehensive programs to address domestic violence, mental health and help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter our community.
On February 2, Turner announced the One Safe Houston initiative, a $50 million investment funded by the ARP that focuses on four key areas: Violence reduction and crime prevention; crisis intervention response and recovery; youth outreach opportunities and key community partnerships.
“I thanked the president for the federal funding, and I assured him we were using it wisely. Listening to President Biden today, it is clear that his administration is paying attention to our success in Houston using ARP to reduce violent crime,” Turner said. “The results speak for themselves. Crime is going down in Houston, and they have taken note of that nationally. We want the people of the city of Houston to feel safe.”
“I thought it was a positive meeting,” added Finner. “Houston is focusing on violent crime, boosting mental health response and how we address the issue of domestic violence [DART, HPD’s Domestic Abuse Response Team], which unfortunately can have fatal consequences. One Safe Houston is how you reduce crime. It is not solely left up to the police. One Safe Houston is a holistic plan, and the ARP funds are certainly helping us in the city of Houston.”
Turner said when it comes to fighting crime, everyone needs to get involved.
“It’s an all hands on deck. It’s not just any one piece. It’s all of those pieces working together. We need our partners working on it. The DA’s office, our judges, you name it. Everybody has a role to play working in collaboration with our police officers, utilizing technology, working with Crimestoppers, all of these different components working together would help to make a very safe city,” Turner said.