Houston Crime-Stoppers CEO: Rania Mankarious
Thanks to an incredible team, Mankarious’ ongoing legacy has been well established. Described by some as “Crime Stoppers on steroids,” her footprint has elevated the organization to new heights. She’s created the first-ever Crime Stoppers Safe School Institute - a full suite direct service crime prevention program for students, teachers, administrators, counselors, school-based law enforcement, and parents. The Institute’s success got the attention of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mankarious was tasked with training the entire state of Texas on proactive school safety. In fall 2019, she launched Crime Stoppers’ first webinar series with local, statewide and national experts. Other firsts for Mankarious include expanding the organization’s Safe Community Program, creating Parents Against Crime, and the critically important Fallen Hero Program.
When asked, Mankarious is most proud of beating the odds and building the first-ever Crime Stoppers headquarters, anywhere in the world, The Dave Ward Building, Crime Stoppers of Houston (Jan. 2017). The public safety, crime prevention facility welcomes community members from all over Houston, the State of Texas and the country. “People told me we could never get the building built, but we believed in the mission and kept going. Meeting by meeting, we raised nearly $24M for public safety, while weaving the brand and our work into the fabric of our community. Not only did we build the historic 30,000 square foot facility, but it has become a hub for community members, media, law enforcement, school administrators, mental health providers, community partners, and more.”
Mankarious received a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence completed at the University of Houston Law Center. She also sits on the national team for Safe and Sound Schools: A Sandy Hook Initiative. Citing a personal mission to serve families and engage the public to better society, Mankarious, a wife and mother of three, is leading by example.
PWH: Describe yourself in four words.
RM: Compassionate, Ambitious, Intelligent, Fearless
PWH: As crime stoppers first CEO, tell us your mission for the organization?
RM: Crime Stoppers of Houston is your neighborhood public safety nonprofit serving every man, woman, student, child, animal, home, business, and community in the Greater Houston Metropolitan area. How? Both through direct services and active partnerships. Established in the early 1980s as solely a Tip Line Program Crime Stoppers now offers a robust public safety program that is reaching millions each year. The Tip Line Program continues to be a national crime solving system and aims to equip and motivate all citizens to report crime while bridging the gap between communities and law enforcement. Additionally, through active partnerships and collaborations, citizen empowerment, and educational outreach, Crime Stoppers of Houston is leading the Bayou City and the State of Texas with innovative crime prevention programming to keep our communities safe. We provide ongoing community and school safety education through our Safe Community Program and Safe School Institute, and provide direct services to crime victims and survivors through our Victim Services and Advocacy Program. The services provided by Crime Stoppers benefit all who call Houston and Harris County home.
PWH: What is your Proactive school safety program about?
RM: The Safe School Institute is a FREE year-round one-stop center for all aspects of school safety. It works to keep schools safe by creating a proactive dialogue with students, parents, school staff, and law enforcement about personal and school safety and by providing students with a safe and anonymous way to report crime and potential dangers on campus. Since its inception in 1997, the Safe School Institute has educated over 1.2 million students in over 70 school districts in the Greater Houston Area and Texas. Additionally, the Institute through the Tip Line has helped solve 1,965 campus cases and helped remove 282 weapons from area schools, preventing many possible school tragedies.
PWH: You have really beat the odds and set a standard for women in business, what is your inspiration?
RM: My inspiration comes from my parents who immigrated to this country in the early 70s and worked hard to make a life for me and my sister. They always challenged us to get involved and give back. That message became even more meaningful when I got married and had my own children. I want to directly impact their world and make sure that as they live and grow and experience so many different things, they can do so safely. And not just them - but everyone. I want all kids in all schools to be safe at all times. I want homes and neighborhoods to be as safe as possible; businesses to thrive and all communities to flourish. I know this requires meaningful and robust programming - that’s what our team develops every single day.
PWH: What is the most rewarding and challenging part of your career?
RM: Most rewarding part – The ability to make a difference in the lives of all who call Houston and Texas home by delivering nationally-recognized safety programs and solutions that create public safety-minded communities that work together (and not against each other) to prevent victimization of all.
Most challenging part – Explaining to the community that we are a 501c3 organization, completely separate from our law enforcement partners. The average citizen assumes we are a part of the police department and therefore not in need of funding or direct support. Additionally, even though our organization has been around for 40 years, Houstonians have had a difficult time understanding what Crime Stoppers does in addition to the Tip Line. We work diligently every day to overcome this challenge by ensuring that we are being cohesive in our branding and our messaging. Even though we have now reached over 1.2 million students in schools through direct training and education, many still are “shocked” to hear that we have an actual Safe School Institute that is robust and actively shaping school safety solutions. And last but not least, many think that they will never be impacted by crime and therefore “tune out” public safety messaging until they are victims. We work diligently to create public safety-minded communities that work together to prevent victimization of all. Crime trends are continuously changing and criminals do not discriminate. Additionally, we want to do all we can to remove the opportunities that criminals look for prior to committing a crime.
PWH: Where do you see yourself and the crime stoppers organization in the next ten years?
RM: In ten years, I see myself continuing this great work in an even more meaningful way. In ten years, I hope they work of Crime Stoppers of Houston is an example for Houston, for Texas and the nation of a leading public safety nonprofit backed by research, programming, and resources that directly tie to safe and thriving schools, neighborhoods, and businesses. We believe we are the future of community - law enforcement relationships and hope every major city in America follows our footsteps.
PWH: Bonus: Describe your definition of a Pretty Woman Who Hustles.
RM: To me, a Pretty Woman Who Hustles can literally be any woman who regardless of what obstacles she is faced with, is able to stay true to herself, remain positive, doesn’t allow the extra chatter and chaos affect her, and isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty to accomplish her goals.
To learn more about Rania and her work with the Houston Texas Crime Stoppers visit their Site Today: https://www.raniamankarious.com/