The Downtown District developed the Downtown Public Safety Guide Program in 2011 to ensure that residents, workers and visitors to downtown Houston feel confident in their personal safety and have a positive downtown experience.
With a focus on hospitality and safety solutions, the Downtown Public Safety Guides (DPSG) provide a customer-friendly and visible presence serving as additional eyes and ears for downtown. They strive to offer a professional relationship with all local law enforcement and social service agencies, business and property owners, private building security companies and City entities. All Downtown Public Safety Guides receive special training in first aid, safety procedures, conflict management and customer relations.
The Guides patrol downtown daily focusing on the busiest pedestrian areas and also offer extra support for special events. Through high visibility and consistent coverage, their responsibilities include:
- Provide hospitality by serving the downtown public residents, workers, visitors, and convention attendees by providing directions and assistance; distributing informational materials and advising about downtown amenities. Those amenities include but are not limited to museums, attractions, retail and restaurant venues, government services, and parking options.
- Support merchants by addressing their concerns and needs for service.
- Provide increased support to the various conventions and special events going on in the District and support them with outreach and assistance.
- Report to local police or proper authorities any suspicious and/or illegal activity and/or safety and security issues.
- Address nuisance activitythrough education, outreach and reminders to street and other populations of ordinances regarding smoking, noise, open containers, aggressive panhandling, sleeping during prohibited times, trespassing, etc.
- Escalate situationsas needed to the Houston Police Department.
- Discourage problematic street behavior by educating on what’s allowed under the current law and on expectations for appropriate behavior, byacting on behalf of merchants orstakeholders who complain, and/or by requesting the person to change their location.
- Notify appropriate local authorities or social service agencies of incidences of panhandling, public intoxication, public consumption of alcohol, intimidating public behavior, and other behaviors that discourage the public enjoyment of the District.
- Report problems such as overflowing trash containers, clogged storm water, burnt-out street lights, non-functioning traffic signals, or obstructions to the public right of way.
- Familiarize themselves with downtown businesses and be attentive to their concerns.
- Proactively obtain information about business openings (including hours of operation) and business closings in the District, advise the District Operations accordingly, and advise new businesses about services offered by the Public Safety Guides and the District.
- Provide additional patrols and assist with civic events when needed.
- Be trained to handle a variety of situations, including calls for assistance to police, fire, and EMS.
- Adequately patrol all five “zones” within Downtown. Attentive surveillance of retail storefronts and unmanned parking lots will be stressed.
- Provide such other services as the District and Contractor may agree from time to time.
- Report on blight issues to the District Operations, including safety hazards, property damage, broken street lights, graffiti, campsites, landscaping issues, abandoned bikes and news racks, etc.
- Know all the relevant outreach services available to the homeless community, and communicate services to those individuals that show motivation for change & work with Homeless Outreach Coordinator to facilitate opportunities to known homeless individuals & families.
Feel free to approach any of the Downtown Public Safety Guides for assistance, information or directions.
DPSG hours of operation (may vary):
Sunday & Monday, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.- 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 9 a.m.- 11 p.m.
For immediate assistance and emergencies, call 911 or the Houston Police Department Special Operations at 832-394-0000. For questions about the program or to make a report, please call 713.223.2003 during regular business hours Monday through Friday, or email email@example.com.