HOUSTON – As KPRC 2 Investigates reported Wednesday night, the Houston Police Department has only brought onboard 14 detectives since announcing on December 20 that new homicide detectives would soon be added to the division.
The six detective vacancies come during a time when the city is experiencing one of its most deadly stretches in nearly 30 years.
In 2020, over 400 homicides were recorded in the city of Houston. In 2021, we are already pushing 225 homicides with more days to go in the month of June. To put that number into perspective, in the entire year of 2014, HPD recorded only 213 homicides.
KPRC 2 Investigates asked council member Abbie Kamin, the chair of the city council’s committee on public safety and Homeland Security, if she was was keeping tabs on the hiring status during a time of record homicides. Kamin said she was unaware.
“I am happy to pull that information for you and get back to you on that,” said Kamin.
When the chair was reminded it was announced in December, Kamin said, “Mario, I will have to get back to you on that. I do not have those numbers.”
The department says the remaining six homicide detective slots will be filled by July 1.
“You’ve got to make sure that those people are properly trained before we put them in there. So, we are working on that,” said HPD Chief Troy Finner. “Nobody has been sitting on their heels and on their hands. We’re doing it, we have accelerated the training.”
Mothers in mourning made their feelings very clear to KPRC 2 Investigates when they said investigators are not doing enough.
“They promise to give me an update like every week, but they never call me,” said Maria Carreon.
Marnita Hinton admitted she has spoken with KPRC 2 Investigates more often than she has spoken with HPD detectives.
“It says that they (HPD detectives) don’t care,” said Hinton.
Finner’s reaction to family’s sentiments that they are being ignored:
“Nothing is harder than a parent or loved one losing someone to violence. So, if we’re not doing what we need to do, we need to make some changes and improve,” said Finner. “They’re asking for updates, and if we are not getting there and we are not making that mark, we need to.”
After we interviewed Hinton and Carreon, both women once again reached out to the detectives on their child’s case. Both tell us detectives finally connected with them after their previous attempts went unanswered. Hinton’s detective responding on Wednesday. Another woman that KPRC 2 Investigates featured in November claims the detective assigned to her case has not responded in over a month. All three cases remain unsolved.
During a news conference on Monday, Mayor Sylvester Turner said, “There is way too much crime and gun violence in our city.”
According to HPD’s numbers, there’s a 42% increase in homicides this year compared to 2020.
What kind of trajectory does that number put the city on for the total number of homicides this year? Roughly 575.