Day Laborer Stings To Be Discontinued

Edward Hegstrom, Houston Chronicle, Sept. 14

Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt said his department will not do any more day labor sting operations like the one mounted west of downtown earlier this month.

In a meeting with activists Monday, Hurtt said he wants to build trust with immigrants, and he was concerned about the way the operation was handled, according to a police spokesman.

Members of an HPD tactical unit dressed up as contractors and arrested 30 day laborers near the corner of Shepherd and Washington. The men were charged with soliciting work in the roadway, a misdemeanor.

“We will not be doing this again,” said Lt. Robert Manzo, an HPD spokesman.

Residents of the neighborhood west of downtown say the area has experienced a quick rise in the number of burglaries, which they link to the immigrant day laborers who loiter on the corners looking for work. Some expressed frustration at the chief’s decision.

“It sounds like we need to get together neighbors, the victims of crime, and have a meeting with the chief,” said Lisa Flores, who lives in the area. “If he has made a decision like that, he doesn’t understand how bad the crime is.”

Flores’ home was invaded last November by knife-wielding robbers, she said.

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