HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner addressed questions back on June 4, 2021 when asked about the rapidly rising homicide rate in the City of Houston after data revealed an increase in the numbers this year compared to in 2020.
“If you ask me whether or not this is a safe city, I’m going to tell you, ‘Absolutely. Hell yeah, it’s a safe city,” Turner said.
When questioned over the effectiveness of policing strategies, Turner attempted to turn the negatives of the numbers into a positive.
“The numbers show it’s not not working,” Turner said. “It could also be much more worse.”
Where are we today? Much more worse.
So far in this year, 467 homicides have been reported, according to HPD.
That number translates to 66 deaths more than this time in 2020. Keep in mind, there are still several days left in the year.
Where does it put us in comparison to past years?
The number of homicides so far this year are the most Houstonians have experienced since 1991.
In June, Chief Finner said, “We just got to hang in there as a community.”
But, he’s not talking today.
Finner says he does not want to jinx former HPD Chief Art Acevedo’s prediction in March, since the year is still still far from over in his eyes. The chief also avoided addressing the fact that 2021 already has the worst homicide total in 30 years.
But, State Senator John Whitmire provided his comment, saying, “I respect Chief Finner, he’s an outstanding police chief. I personally would [have] hit the urgent crisis button perhaps before he would,” said Whitmire on Tuesday.
Whitmire is the longest serving state senator in Texas and has been the Chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee in Austin since 1993. He’s also running to be Houston’s next mayor.
“I would go through my operations, and get every police officer I can from behind the desk onto the streets for patrol,” said Whitmire.
Whitmire also said one more serious problems that is not being addressed are gangs as they fuel youth violence.