According to this story from guns.com, ammunition is flying off the shelves in hurricane-battered Houston this week.
James Hillin, owner of Full Armor Firearms told The Trace Friday that his phones “are blowing off the hook” as reports of looting become more widespread in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the area last week.
“What people want is ammo,” he said in the story. “People want to arm up and protect themselves from the looters.”
The story says Houston police arrested more than 40 people last week for looting and looting-related crimes in a city that has endured more than four feet of rain and flooding like nothing the state has ever seen. The death toll from the storm currently sits at 39.
The storm itself spared Hillin’s home and store, but he worries criminals will target his businesss.
They’re looking for easy money,” Hillin said in the story. “They know that power’s going to be out all over so they figure there won’t be alarms or surveillance. Of course, I have a big generator and backup batteries. Nothing wrong with being prepared.”
According to this story from townhall.com, looters in the Houston area are targeting empty homes as well. The story says one Texas Sheriff, from Fort Bend, issued a stern warning for those looking at flood victims as easy prey.
“We’ve heard of looting around the greater Houston area, specifically Harris County. But as far as Fort Bend County, we haven’t,” said County Sheriff Troy Nehls on Saturday.
“I made a comment the other day that we support the Second Amendment here in Fort Bend County and there are many of us that are armed. I would would caution those that want to come and prey on our people here in Fort Bend County that are suffering so much right now, you may want to stay out of Fort Bend County because you could leave this county in a bag,” he continued.
The story points out the stark contrast to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which saw citizens’ firearms confiscated in some cases, leaving victims defenseless as lawlessness quickly overtook portions of the city.
Nehls isn’t the only one issuing warnings to would-be looters. This story from npr.com says police have beefed up security in the wake of the storm, like imposing a curfew and stiffening penalties for crimes committed in the affected area.
“We’re city that is about diversity and opportunity and all kinds of justice,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. “But we’re not a city that’s going to tolerate people victimizing people that are at the lowest point in their life.”
The curfew is in effect from midnight to 5 a.m. and intended to prevent criminal activity. It “exempts flood relief volunteers, those seeking shelter, first responders, and those going to and from work.”
“It’s not clear how many criminal incidents have occurred in areas hit by flooding, and the police chief declined to provide statistics. ‘I don’t have the numbers. I can just tell you … we’re nipping it in the bud,’ Acevedo said.”
“Fourteen people accused of looting were arrested in the past 48 hours, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement released Tuesday. They will face ‘heftier penalties’ if they are found to have broken the law in the disaster area. Burglarizing a home could mean life in prison.”
The law in Texas says certain crimes committed in a county designated as a disaster area by the governor carry harsher penalties. “Burglarizing a home would normally bring a penalty of two to 20 years in prison, but now brings five years to life,” Ogg said in the story.