Breaking the Language Barrier

Houston's growing Asian community prompts a call for more crime prevention. The Houston Police Department announces a new partnership to help Asian-Americans who live and work in the Sharpstown area. Pat Hernandez has more.

Harris County is the third largest county in the United States by population and Houston is the fourth largest city in the nation. Asians play a big part in the city's diverse, multilingual community. But the cultural growing pains include language, and that could pose a problem with police. Houston Police Assistant Chief JH Chen says many of them don't know what to do when they become a crime victim.

"I think their interaction is more of a fear, that it's a bad thing to talk to the police department. We recognize that fact, so what we're trying to do is open up that communication, that we are here to help them, that we are a public servant, and we're here to serve them."

The Sharpstown Management District has spent millions providing services to businesses in the area. Executive director Bill Calderon says multi-language safety brochures are being made available to store fronts, businesses and social entities that cater to the immigrant community.  He says  they will go a long way in reaching out to everyone in Houston that speaks English as a second language.

"Oftentimes, they're just not reached by the entities that serve them, and consequently they can't take advantage of the programs and the efforts that are put out by the police department, because they simply don't know what's out there, or how it works, or who to reach out to when there's trouble."

Calderon says the district is teaming up with HPD to make business owners and customers safer during the upcoming holiday season with increased patrols and more security cameras installed in the area.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...