July 6, 2022

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Fighting crime or political battles? Crime Stoppers of Houston is drawing scrutiny with partisan voice

3 min read

Judges and criminal justice reform advocates say Crime Stoppers of Houston has taken a partisan turn and is engaging in misleading conversations about crime across the city.

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This is an excerpt from Fighting crime or political battles? Crime Stoppers of Houston is drawing scrutiny with partisan voice:

Long known as one of the largest chapters in the United States, Crime Stoppers of Houston boasts a spacious headquarters in Midtown, a high-profile CEO who earns nearly as much as Houston’s police chief and a multi-million dollar budget.

Crime victims and law enforcement leaders praise the organization, calling it an invaluable resource that has helped detectives solve perplexing cases. “They have a role to hold a trusted line for tips, and I think they do that effectively,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

Detractors argue the organization has strayed from its core mission and criticize CEO Rania Mankarious for using the nonprofit as a personal launchpad. And as homicides have risen across the city, judges and criminal justice reform advocates say Crime Stoppers has taken a partisan turn and is engaging in misleading conversations about crime across the city.

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Interviews with current and former Crime Stoppers employees and board members, law enforcement, judicial and municipal officials as well as advocates for criminal justice reform paint a picture of mission creep and accusations of partisanship.

“They’ve been a lot more active politically,” political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus said. “Crime is one of the most potent political issues. Being able to navigate and direct that as an issue, is power.”

Read the entire article at HoustonChronicle.com.



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