"With a Spike in Local Crime, Rockport Police Chief Calls Invitational Meeting to Discuss, 2/27/17" | Article and 3 Photos by Jeanette Larson

Chief Jayroe (center) with Commander Lawing, Criminal Investigations (left)  and Commander Sinclair, Patrol Division (right)
Rockport Police Chief Tim Jayroe invited representatives from Rockport's HOAs (Home Owner Associations), neighborhood groups, and subdivisions to a meeting on Monday, February 27, 2017, 10:00am at Rockport Police Headquarters. Attendees represented at least eight neighborhoods. The chief began with some general comments about the purpose of the meeting, which he anticipates will be held quarterly. The primary point was to discuss things that are happening in our neighborhoods and to help residents understand ways we can help alleviate problems, issues, and crime. The mission is to work with groups, such as the HOAs and neighborhoods, "to maintain and sustain good living conditions" in the community.

Invited Attendees Listen to Chief Jayroe Address the Group
The Rockport Police Department is being very proactive following a string of burglaries in the Country Club. In the past six months there have been twelve burglaries at homes along the fairways. Officers have been going door to door talking to homeowners who have houses that back up against the fairways helping them with safety checks on their homes. They will take a similar approach in other neighborhoods that have a cluster of problems. Chief Jayroe indicated that the main issue that makes these homes, and homes like them, targets is lack of privacy fences due to the golf course. He also mentioned that dogs (or the sound of a dog) was a good deterrent.

Crime reports for each group represented at the meeting were distributed. These reports indicate all calls to the department, not just those that result in criminal offenses. Officers from the Patrol Division then talked about the main problems and safety issues found in each subdivision. While most subdivisions have issues, they varied greatly. Key Allegro, for example, has more problems with theft of property from boats on the canals where owners leave fishing equipment in the boat, while other subdivisions had mainly traffic and parking issues. Burglaries and thefts tend to be "crimes of opportunity" often because the home residents have left the garage door open or back doors and windows unlocked. In several cases in Country Club the police discovered windows that were unlocked even though the homeowner thought they were secure. He advised checking windows regularly. If patrol officers see a garage door open at night they will wake up the residents to alert them. Backyard lights were also recommended as long as they are reasonable and not flooding light into your neighbor's yard.

Most crime in Rockport, according to the police statistics, are property crimes. Most crimes are committed by casual criminals, especially those looking for fast money for drugs. An exception was the January arrest of a band of thieves from the Galveston area. Fast action by a convenience store clerk who thought it was odd to see a truck with several kayaks in the early hours before dawn ended with arrests. This led to the next safety tip from Chief Jayroe: if you see something, say something. Even if no specific information (like a license plate number) can be provided by the person calling in suspicious activity, it can be helpful. Often the police can track where the next crime might occur by following the reports. It may take several reports but eventually they see the pattern and can act offensively. As Rockport grows, criminals in other areas of the state are learning that residents here have expensive equipment and valuables and are targeting us.

One question that came up from a neighborhood dealt with door to door solicitors. Each person coming to your door must have a permit from the city. The city issues very few permits and a call to the police department can tell you if the person soliciting should be in your area. The police will come out and cite to offenders, who are often scammers. Permits issued to the home office or main salesperson are not valid for door to door soliciting. Non-profits (501(c)(3)s) are exempt from the ordinance.

After answering questions from the attendees about specific issues in their neighborhoods, Chief Jayroe concluded by reminding everyone to call in about anything that doesn't seem right. It's their job to figure out if something is going on or not. He could not stress strongly enough that if you feel any concern or have a bad feeling about something, call it in. While emergency calls for criminal activity in progress should be called to 911, other calls can be directed to 361-729-2222. He reiterated that all crime is "crime of opportunity" but some people make it their career to look for those opportunities. We can limit those opportunities by locking up cars and homes, watching for suspicious behavior, and knowing our neighbors. The next meeting will be in May and interested neighborhoods can call the department to be added to the notification list.
Webmaster's Note: The WWN has reached out to the Police Chief's office to offer our continued support and services to help inform the public of future meeting times and locations.

About the Author: Jeanette Larson is a retired librarian and author. She and her husband, retired architect and artist Jim Larson, moved to Rockport several years ago for the birds, the beach, and the coastal community.

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