‘Public safety affects everyone’: Crime Stoppers leaders address felony bond reform

On Thursday, Crime Stoppers Houston held a news conference regarding bond reform

HOUSTON – Crime Stoppers leaders held a news conference Wednesday where they addressed felony bond reform.

During the news conference, Crime Stoppers leaders responded to the Harris County Justice Administration report, “Felony Bail Practice: The Landscape in Harris County,” and to the testimony they provided at a legislative hearing.

According to Crime Stoppers, in 2020, 10,500 people who were out on bond committed 18,796 crimes, which is a significant increase from 2015, where 3,200 people who were out on bond committed 6,438 crimes.

That information and other data provided by the Harris County District Attorney were omitted from the report, according to Andy Kahan, director of victim’s services for Crime Stoppers.

Kahan said Crime Stoppers is more concerned with the victims rather than distinguishing whether a defendant was released multiple times on PR (personal recognizance) bonds.

“The report uses numbers that we provided to them of the hundred people who have been murdered by defendants and they skewer them as to whether or not they were released on cash bond or the new term that they like to use right now instead of PR bonds, ... ‘unsecured bond.’ I guess because that sounds so much better than a PR bond,” Kahan said. “...Crime Stoppers and law enforcement doesn’t care what types of bonds are released multiple times. The issue is, how many bonds is enough?”

Kahan said that violent offenders are being released time after time and once out, they re-offend time after time and commit crimes that could have been prevented had they not been released.

“Violent offenders granted a PR bond have quadrupled since 2018,” Kahan said. “These offenses that have been granted PR bonds include capital murder, murder, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated robbery, human trafficking and other violent offenses.”

Kahan said the real story is about the effects the offenders are having on the people who are bearing the brunt of their actions.

“I have never been in a situation where public safety is so divided, and for whatever reason, has become a partisan issue,” Kahan said. “Public safety affects everybody. There is no partisan issue here... something has to be done.”

Watch the full news conference below:

Press Conference: Crime Stoppers of Houston and victim families address felony bond reform, SB 21 and provide a response to the Harris County Justice Administration report, Felony Bail Practice: The Landscape in Harris County, and to the testimony they provided at the Senate Criminal Jurisprudence Hearing. * Crime Stoppers Director of Victim Services Andy Kahan shares new data on the issue. * Taseer Badar, Chairman and CEO of ZT Corporate, and crime victim shares his personal story * Marisol Ramos, sister of Ramon Ramos, 32-year old murdered on Christmas Day speaks on behalf of her family * A flag memorial with the name and age of each victim is on display in memory of the now over 100 people killed/murdered by defendants released on a variety of bonds, including felony and personal bonds. Tune in and share!

Posted by Crime Stoppers of Houston on Wednesday, March 31, 2021

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.