This is the second in a series of posts that will lie out Chris Oliver’s priorities for his campaign for Houston City Council, At-Large Position 1. Stay tuned for more updates every week!

Safety is a big concern for many Houstonians. While the city’s crime rate has fallen, many of our neighborhoods are still plagued by crime that threatens to bring our communities down. As your City Council Member, I will make public safety of all of Houston’s one of my top priorities!

Community Safety

To build a better neighborhoods and better communities, it is crucial that we work to make Houstonians feel safe in their homes. While each of Houston’s neighborhoods experiences crime in different ways and levels, community safety is an issue that every citizen can get behind.

As Council Member, I will look to make our city safer by prioritizing the identification and removal of abandoned properties and degraded lots. These structures often serve as “hubs” for potential criminal activity and, thus, seek to bring our communities down. As Council Member, my office will work closely with the City’s Department of Neighborhoods to help find smart, cost effective ways to remove these abandoned properties from our neighborhoods. This will reduce crime across the city, and help give Houstonians the peace of mind that these areas have been removed from their communities.

Public safety is also an issue of economics. Crime is often a last resort for many, leading many of our fellow residents into the criminal justice system rather than the educational system or workforce. My office will look to partner with local law enforcement entities and offices to create comprehensive diversion programs for first-time, non-violent offenders. These programs will give first-time offenders the information and support they need to avoid a life of crime and will help them get back on the “straight and narrow.” The At-Large 1 office will also look to partner with local community colleges and universities to develop training programs that help give first-time offenders the skills necessary to get and maintain gainful employment.

As Council Member, we will also look to work with private companies and organizations to incentivize investment into the City of Houston. For example, when we demolish or raze an abandoned building or property, we can provide financial incentives for private investment into those lots. This will not only remove the criminal element from the area, but also will also spurn additional revenues and economic growth in that community. By incentivizing grocery store chain and brand name retail investment into those properties, we can also make huge strides to solving issues like area food deserts and further urban decay.

Together, I know that we can build a better, safer Houston. There is simply no reason that any Houstonian shouldn’t feel safe in their home or neighborhood, and as your Council Member, I will work tirelessly to make sure that this hope becomes our reality. Houston has raised me – it will be one of my foremost goals to make sure we make it a safer place for generations to come.

Please visit this space next week for the next post in our series laying out my vision for the City of Houston! With your support, advice, and guidance, I know that we can create “An Even Better Houston and An Even Better Tomorrow!”