Sunday, January 24, 2010

Don't Believe Everything You Read about Southwest Houston

The Chronicle ran the headline today, “Recent shootings in southwest Houston terrify residents .“

I live in Southwest Houston. I’m not terrified. Of course I live nowhere near the shootings, but you wouldn’t know it to read the Chronicle’s reporting.

Perhaps I should be happy that the Chronicle spelled out “Southwest” in their headline. Often they shorten it to ‘SW.’ Nobody really knows where ‘SW’ Houston starts and stops. At times it has included Uptown and even Montrose . Southwest Houston covers a huge area. A low estimate is that there are nearly 250,000 people living on 53 square miles here. [i]

The geographic size of Southwest Houston exaggerates the crime that does occur here. The temptation is to view Southwest Houston as a single, condensed, crimeridden neighborhood. That misconception could have a terrible effect on this part of the City. If government follows the reporting, then its resources will be spread too thin. Developers don’t want to build in places with bad reputations, so they’ll neglect the area. This is to say nothing of the frustration faced by civic leaders, whose efforts are flushed down the toilet with every ‘SW’ Houston headline.

If only reporters could identify neighborhoods in Southwest Houston. There are maps to use. It shouldn’t be very difficult, and the benefits will be tremendous.

[i]Ludem Document, Population Study: For population and area figures, Southwest Houston is considered the combination of study areas 8 and 9.

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