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Our Podcast Returns With Season 5!

S5 Premiere YT Cover Houston Crime Stoppers

Season 5 of our podcast, The Balanced Voice with Rania Mankarious started today!

Episode 57 is the first episode of a multi-part series on the fentanyl crisis in America. In this episode, Rania and this season’s co-host Jennifer interviewed Harris County Sheriff Deputy Leggett about her near-death experience after being exposed to fentanyl while on a service call. Together, they dive into what happened and the immediate action she took that saved her life.

 

 

Special thank you to our Season 5 sponsor Flip Lok for making this episode possible. Learn more about Flip Lok at www.fliplok.com.

 

To request FREE Narcan Nasal Spray, please email scp@crime-stoppers.org.

On KHOU: Houston teens blackmailed with fake nude photos

keyboard Houston Crime Stoppers

“They’re taking those photos and they’re manipulating them, creating highly sexualized sometimes pornographic content and then using it for extortion and blackmail.”

Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious speaks to Lauren Talarico on KHOU 11 about how online predators are using kid and teen pictures taken from social media sites like SnapChat and Instagram and manipulating them to extort them.

*What should children and parents know about sextortion?

Crime Stoppers recommends victims do the following:

  • Stop all commutations.
  • Document everything.
  • Do not give them money or meet any other demands.
  • Report it to the FBI, Internet Crimes Against Children and local officials.
  • Post on social media that this has happened to warn other contacts.
  • Talk honestly with your kids.

Watch full story here:

This is why we do what we do.

dreamstime l 9069207 A Message from Crime Stoppers scaled Houston Crime Stoppers

This is why we do what we do.

On October 25, on The Roula & Ryan Morning Show on KRBE, the mother of Julian Castro called in to talk her son’s tragic death on June 6, 2022. We have been helping the Castro family since they day he was murdered to help find the senseless suspects who forced their way into his home, shooting and killing him for unknown reasons.

Please take a moment to listen to her plea: https://www.facebook.com/CrimeStoppersOfHouston/videos/579518063928733

There is now an increased reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of the suspect(s) in this case.

Julian’s family and friends have been devastated by this loss. It has been nearly five months since he was killed, and the killers are still out there. We will continue to help the Castro family, and so many others, seek justice for their loved ones.

☎️ Call 713-222-TIPS(8477) if you have ANY information.

Crime Stoppers’ Final Comment on Audit Request

The following letter from our Chairman Justin Vickrey was sent to Mr. Post on October 24, 2022:

Mr. Post,

After careful consideration of the baseless demand for an audit by one of the Harris County Commissioners, we are hereby ceasing further efforts to participate in this request. Crime Stoppers of Houston (CSoH) and chief assistant county auditor, Ms. Errika Perkins, of the Harris County Auditor’s Office (HCAO) mutually understood the political nature behind this request and we were assured the HCAO was an impartial party. We voluntarily and legally met all that was asked of us through the wealth of documentation CSoH provided. The last discussion we had with the HCAO was that the draft was a “work in process” and we would provide some additional documentation for a final draft.

As you well know, the continuation of this charade was never able to occur due to Ms. Perkins providing an interview less than two weeks later to a Houston Chronicle reporter who has shown multiple times to have an unconscionable bias against CSoH (https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/crime/article/Crime-Stoppers-Harris-County-auditors-stonewalled-17438375.php). Her incredible lack of good judgement in an ongoing audit left us grimly disappointed with zero trust your office is indeed impartial as she professed it to be. CSoH never “declined” or “stonewalled” any part of the process with your office and your team knows it.

Additionally, it is important to state for the record:

  1. CSoH has received $200,000 from Harris County Commissioners Court (HCCC) since 2018 and none of the grants had a right to audit clause, which, as your office is well aware, was expressly removed by the County.
  2. Donations by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office (HCDAO) were from state asset forfeiture funds and not taxpayer funds. HCCC governs taxpayer funds, not state forfeiture funds. As such, HCCC has no standing to request an audit of those funds.
  3. Funds received from probationary fees are not taxpayer funds governed by HCCC. Those funds are audited by the State of Texas.
  4. Lastly, the claim by the auditors in their draft report that these funds fall under the Department of Justice (DOJ) are incorrect. Let us explain the correct information:
    1. The HCDAO performs civil forfeiture work for three (3) separate forfeiture entities, which are governed by different rules.
      1. State Asset Forfeiture funds
        1. Governed by Ch. 59 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The HCDAO must use these funds only for law enforcement purposes. Ch. 59 does not make requirements on the recipients of the donations.
      2. DOJ Federal Asset Forfeiture funds; and
      3. US Treasury Federal Asset Forfeiture funds.

As planned, the negative headlines sought by the Commissioner were achieved in a sad effort to distract for the true issues in Harris County around crime and the rampant repeated release of violent felony offenders. In hindsight, we erred in voluntarily agreeing to go along with this to begin with. Lesson learned. I truly hope you too have learned a lesson in the danger of allowing your office to be weaponized by any Commissioner with a political axe to grind.

Regards,

Justin Vickrey
Chairman, Board of Directors
Crime Stoppers of Houston

 

Men Stopping Violence (Domestic Violence Awareness Month)

dreamstime m 90107523 Houston Crime Stoppers

Every year in October, advocates around the country are busy with activities for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We are invited to speak on panels, give presentations at schools, and provide information to community members at health fairs and other events. We are asked about services for those who are being abused and how one can avoid getting into a relationship with someone who may be abusive. These are important questions that may help some survivors with safety, but they put the responsibility of solving the problem on those who have the least power to do so in the relationship.

In the United States, our approach to dealing with domestic violence has largely been reactive and focused on how survivors should behave after violence has been committed against them by someone they love. For example, survivors are often told to leave their partners, call the police, or obtain a protective order, even though doing these things often actually increases their risk of being killed. Additionally, this one-size-fits-all approach does not take into account the experiences of marginalized communities in dealing with the criminal justice or child welfare systems, or the less prosecutable, but very effective, tactics of power and control such as financial and psychological abuse. While shelters and legal systems can provide some opportunities for victim safety and offender accountability, they do not necessarily offer effective ways to change the behavior of a person using abusive behaviors and, therefore, do not prevent them from harming others again.

So, how can abuse be prevented? While there are a number of social factors that must be addressed in order to support healthy families and communities, one of the most important strategies is to engage men in the solution. For too long, we have looked at domestic violence and sexual assault as women’s issues and have left it to women to deal with, but we know that men can also be abused, and we also know that men commit the majority of serious violent crimes. At Men Stopping Violence (MSV), we believe it is up to men to speak up about these issues, invite other men to evaluate their own behaviors, and encourage practices that resist abuse and oppression. MSV began in the early 80s and uses a model of community accountability in working with men and boys to challenge sexism, racism, and other harmful social norms in the community and within themselves. Our Young Men Stopping Violence program seeks to connect with teenage boys to create environments in which abuse is not tolerated before they create families of their own.

In addition to our work around social change, we also offer intervention programs for men who have used controlling and abusive behaviors with their partners. These are designed to help participants learn about how their attitudes, thoughts, words, and actions contribute to violence against women and girls, and take responsibility for their behavior. While many program participants may at first be resistant to own the harm they’ve inflicted, over time they come to find great value in these programs. For some, it is the first time they’ve come to understand their own experiences of abuse as children and how they have carried that trauma with them into the next generation. Many want to become better partners and parents, but need the education to learn how and other men to hold them accountable.

While MSV is located in the Atlanta area, this is an approach that can be replicated in communities around the country. We encourage men to learn more about how they can work toward creating a safer world for all, starting with themselves.

Written by:

  • Elisa Covarrubias, CEO, Men Stopping Violence
  • Patrick Harrison, Director of Outreach Programs, Men Stopping Violence