HOUSTON – Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo held a news conference Friday morning to address the surging homicide numbers in the city.
“We’re not going to make excuses we are going to continue to do our very best to make a difference,” Acevedo said.
Is HPD’s strategy working? Not yet, according to the numbers announced by Acevedo.
“Our homicides are up significantly,” Acevedo said. “They are up about 44% year-to-date, as of this morning.”
More than 350 murders in 2020 compared to 2019, when the city recorded 280. Nearly 50 homicides have been reported since Oct. 19. Those numbers are significant because it was on that day that Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s announced a $4.1-million boost in funding for HPD to combat violent crime, including homicide, in six hot spots.
When asked by KPRC 2 Investigates if Houston taxpayers are getting their best bang for their buck with this initiative, Acevedo said: “Well I think the question you have answer is, you might not have an answer to it, is how many murders there would be without that initiative right?”
There is no way to prove Acevedo’s response as fact. However, facts do show homicides have increased. The chief claims the coronavirus is impacting his department’s staffing while acknowledging more money is the right answer.
“That is the $4-million investment, but we haven’t spent that money,” Acevedo said.
When asked if it’s the right strategy, Acevedo replied without hesitation: “Of course.” Asked again, Acevedo replied: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”
“Because we know, historically, when you increase your footprint in an area, violent crime goes down,” Acevedo added.
When reminded that the numbers have not gone down since he has increased the department’s footprint? Acevedo replied: “I don’t know your numbers right now.” KPRC 2 Investigates reminded the chief they were his department’s numbers.
How many homicides are getting solved? Many more less in 2020
KPRC 2 Investigates took a look at the clearance rate of homicides in Houston this year, meaning the number of homicies where an arrest has been made. Here’s a look at what we found.
Watch a replay of the special report from KPRC 2′s Mario Diaz that aired Tuesday about the rising homicide numbers in the city.