Photographer's Note


Believing in the words of Houstonís Mayor, millions residents left behind nearly abandoned neighborhoods and stores to flee the city. They also left a potential playground for thieves. Mayor Bill White announced evacuations but did not mention or provide local shelters. He urged people to leave without plan of using freeways to escape, and the result is loss of lives. Asked what people should do when they need a roof during hurricane, the mayor said there would be no local shelters and advised people with special needs to call 311.

Census figures show Harris County had 3.6 million people in 2004, of whom 14.7 percent lived below the poverty level while 8.7 percent of households lacked a vehicle, both percentages slightly higher than national figures. More than one-third spoke a language other than English at home. For the poor and the disenfranchised, the mighty evacuation orders that preceded Rita were something they could only ignore.

To maintain order, Houston Police requires 12-hour shifts, and some deputies and officers have been temporarily shifted to patrol duty to protect areas left deserted by residents forced to evacuate. HPD issued a warning that they are not going to tolerate looting and officers will go after looters. HPD also promised that the department stands ready to deal with any situation.


As of yesterday, at least three youths have been arrested in Houston on charges of looting. They were accused of going room to room at a middle school looking for electronics.

Houston city police are making extra patrols in areas around pawn shops, gun shops and department stores that might be attractive to the criminal element.

I took this picture at the re-opening of a food store on Beechnut and Beltway 8 where the wave of shoppers hurrying select their merchandises in fear of out of food. The man in white shoes made use of chaos to steal. 4 police cars arrived within 2 minutes. It was a bad day for him because HPD wanted every one to know what they meant.

Texas law generally authorizes people to kill thieves to protect or recover their own property. People can also use deadly force to protect others' property under similar circumstances, if they reasonably believe the target committed or is committing theft or attempted theft.

We wish Texans not to take advantage of their legal rights under these sections in some situations. If this man remembered that Texas property owners have those rights, and many have the reputation of being willing to use them, he didnít have to consider today his bad day.


Scheduled Return Plan

State officials have planned a scheduled return for motorists to the Houston area beginning today Sunday, Sept. 25. Click on the shaded region to open up the corresponding map


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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