County Attorney Sues Shopping Center Owners In SW Houston

The Harris County Attorney's Office is suing the owners of a shopping center in southwest Houston that's a magnet for crime and prostitution.

The Westwood Shopping Center is along Bissonnet in the Sharpstown area, just west of the Southwest Freeway. Authorities say two businesses there, a bar and a nightclub, attract prostitutes and have been hotbeds for assaults and robberies.

The Harris County Attorney's Office wants the owners of the property, Rhmzyu LLC, to do a better job of keeping the bad elements away. Assistant Harris County Attorney Laura Cahill says a similar strategy worked last year when the office sued property owners across the street.

"We worked out agreements where they would hire security, which they did, and put in lighting where it was dark, put in cameras, and what that does is it starting moving the prostitution off these properties."

Cahill says the lawsuit is part of the Community Protection Program developed a few years ago by County Attorney Vince Ryan and the Sharpstown Management District.

"This area is particularly important to the Sharpstown Management District because they are getting new businesses wanting to come in and they don't want to come in if there's this kind of activity going on. So they want to make sure that this is not an area where people come and say "I'm not going near this area again, because the prostitution was everywhere and it was all the time."

Cahill says recent HPD reverse prostitution stings in the area have helped with the crime problem. We placed a call to Rhymzu LLC, the property owner, but weren't able to speak with anyone for comment.