Houston's Costly Homeland Security Videos Go Viral
The latest viral video might just save your life.
Over the last four years, the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security in Houston has spent $540,000 to produce three short videos dealing with public safety scenarios, according to an article from the Houston Chronicle.
The latest production, a nearly six-minute video “Run, Hide, Fight” has already hit 800,000 hits on YouTube, with an additional 25,000 hits on the city of Houston’s website. Hundreds of cities, towns and countries have contacted the mayor’s office for permission to use the video, the article says.
Frankly I was surprised. I had hoped it would catch on, locally and regionally, because these projects are for the whole Houston metropolitan area. I was just surprised how quickly it caught on, especially on YouTube," says Chief Dennis Storemski, Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security Director, in the article. "So yeah, I'm blown and away and happy."
“Run, Hide, Fight” illustrates an active shooter event, and provides clear guidelines on what potential victims should do in such a situation. The video is slightly graphic, with a depiction of a calculating shooter walking through an office building shooting at random, with the occasional representation of the wounded or bloodied victims.
The problem arises in the fact that taxpayer money is being used to make the films; in this case, grant funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were used, the Chronicle reports.
The film was produced for $200,000, and a number of the actors in the video, including the shooter, were portrayed by members of the Houston Police Department’s SWAT team, the article says.
The video was released the week after the July 20 shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
As far as its public education value goes, Storemski says the film has reached more than 800,000 viewers, which amounts to about 25 cents per view.
"So when you get down to it, it's pennies a person," Storemski says in the article. "And before the dust settles, it's going to be less than that. And if it saves a few lives, what is a life worth? It's all geared to, at the end of the day, save lives and prevent injury."
You can watch the videos at the links listed below: