Lee P. Brown

Ministers Against Crime

1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

The Ministers Against Crime program involves ethnically and denominationally diverse ministers who participate in crime prevention activities in support of the Houston Police Department. The members act as Police Community Consultants and are called upon to assist in crisis or other situations in which religious influence is needed. There are five groups (each one operating autonomously) made up of ministers of different ethnic groups. These groups come together to work on common projects several times a year. These projects include the following very successful community programs:

  • Project Safe Start - Provides a ministerial and police presence on school campuses during the last days of school to prevent student disruptions.
  • Police Prayer Day - Involves the ministers joining with the Chief of Police and other police and community officials to pray for the safety of police officers;
  • Educational Workshops - Enables the ministers to effectively meet needs in the community and support the police department in keeping the peace; and
  • Support of Police Project/Programs - The ministers are faithful supporters of all police efforts and can be depended upon to assist when they are needed.

2. When was the program created and why?

The Ministers Against Crime was formed in 1976 amidst much racial strife and unrest in Houston, Texas. The purpose of the program is to:

  • Promote peace and understanding between the police department and citizens of all ethnic groups;
  • Provide ministerial and social services to victims of crime and their families, as well as to diverse community needs; and
  • Encourage the community's participation in crime prevention efforts.

3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?

The effectiveness of this program is apparent by its longevity and the continued support and goodwill for the police department generated by the ministers and their congregations.

4. How is the program financed?

Financing of this program is primarily through administrative and personnel costs.

5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?

The five Ministers Against Crime groups comprise a total of approximately 500 ministers. The scope of the program extends to the congregations of these ministers.

6. What are the major lessons learned that would be helpful for others trying to implement a similar program?

The major lessons learned from this project are: (1) ministerial influence in the community is a powerful force; and (2) this influence working for and not against the police department is a significant benefit in providing policing services.

7. What specific advice do you have for mayors interested in replicating a program such as yours?

Create partnerships with the religious community to provide mutual support to programs that will help facilitate crime prevention and ethnic tolerance/respect.

For more information, please contact:

Yvette Chargois, Assistant Director
Houston Police Department
Community Outreach Division
1200 Travis Street, Suite 2101
Houston, Texas 77002
Telephone: (713) 308-9118
Fax: (713) 308-9107
E-mail address:

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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