Houston’s homicide rate went up 17% in 2021 versus last year, HPD says

HOUSTON – The City of Houston will close out 2021 with a homicide rate that’s 17% higher than the previous year, numbers released Friday by the agency confirmed.

Rising homicide cases have been a concern throughout the year, as officials cited the pandemic as a major factor behind the year-to-year surge, which peaked at 43% in July. From there, data released Friday by the Houston Police Department show the curve slowing.

Aug. 1, 2021 vs Aug. 1, 2020: 32%

Sept. 1, 2021 vs Sept. 1, 2020: 30%

Oct. 1, 2021 vs Oct. 1, 2020: 27%

Nov. 1, 2021 vs Nov. 1, 2020: 27%

“So, for the past six months, since July 1, our murder rate numbers have been trending down,” HPD released in a statement.

Still, community leaders say a high murder rate that’s higher than the previous year is a problem — no matter the trend.

“The pendulum should not have swung the way it is,” said chairman of the MacGregor super neighborhood group Tomaro Bell.

Bell was referring to the reality that repeat felony offenders, out on bond, have been arrested and charged with committing another felony.

“If you look at the repeat felons who have committed murders, and you take that out of the total, [that’s] where would we be,” Bell asked.

Andrew Williams was a repeat felony offender out on bond when he was accused of killing Martha Medina in September.

The scene was investigated by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

At the time, according to court documents, Williams was on bond in connection to another capital murder case.

Martha Medina’s daughter, Lourdes Medina, said Williams should not have been on the street in the first place.  

Since her mother’s death, Lourdes has taken it upon herself to learn about the state’s bond system and push toward changing it.

“I was just like blown away by all these cases, and how many of these people are out on bond,” she said. “Now I’ve heard from other people and I’ve seen it, too. It’s a nationwide problem.”

Lourdes said the holidays haven’t been easy for her family.

“We were trying to make the best of it but it just seemed like the night was dragging. You could feel the heaviness of the absence of my mother,” she said.

About the Author:

Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.