Houston homicide rate changes little in 2016

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HOUSTON – Houston had 302 homicides in 2016, one fewer than a recorded 303 homicides in 2015, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced.

“We responded with an aggressive plan that involved an extra $2 million for overtime, the deployment of 175 officers from desk jobs to beat patrols, more park rangers and a new patrol division dedicated to the central business district,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “It is always hard to determine the specific reasons murders and other crimes increase. Some say it is something we really have no control over.  That may be true, but there are early indications the overtime and increased focus have helped, and for that, I am pleased.”

Officials predicted that homicide rate in 2016 would be much higher than what was recorded in 2015 because of a 5 percent increase in homicides in June and September compared to the year before.

To alleviate the increase in homicides and tension throughout Houston, local hip-hop artists, Texans players, ministers and community leaders took to the streets to try to clean up crime.

According to the mayor, city council members gave part of district budgets to help with police overtime in order to keep people safe.

“There is a still a lot of work to do on decreasing all violent crimes, but getting a handle on murders is a good start,” said Turner.  “I commend officers, commanders and support staff at HPD for this effort and hope we can work to maintain our goal of keeping our growing city as safe as we can.”