Houston leaders blame crime spike on bail reform, understaffed police department

HOUSTON – Violent crime in Houston is on the rise. City leaders said there are a few contributing factors.

The family of a 19-year-old woman has been grieving after the victim was caught in gunfire Saturday at a northwest Houston apartment complex.

On Friday, a 17-year-old teen fatally shot in a front yard on the city’s southside.

Homicide detectives with the Houston Police Department spent Monday morning investigating how a woman’s body made it to a dump site on Albert Street. The woman was found without shoes.

Houston has had 112 homicides since the start of the year, according to the Houston Police Department. There were 81 in 2020 during the same time period. Councilman Greg Travis, who represents District G, said the pandemic is one of several contributing factors to the rise in crime.

“If you look at 2020, it was not a great year for us either, and 2019 was just a little bit better,” he said. “So, this is not something new. It’s been coming on and it’s getting progressively worse, and we gotta do something about it.”

Travis said HPD is understaffed for a city its size, with about 5,400 officers. He said the city would benefit from an additional 1,000 officers.

“Even if you put a thousand more out there, I don’t think you’re going to see a huge reduction in crime until we start putting these bad characters behind bars and keeping them there until their trial,” he said.