Crime Stoppers establishes new research center to help combat rising homicide rates in Harris County

HOUSTON – Crime Stoppers of Houston, along with local law enforcement agencies announced Tuesday additional resources to address the rising homicide rates compared to several years ago.

To date, over 600 murders have been recorded in Harris County in 2021 – a 70% increase compared to 2019 numbers.

As the leading public safety non-profit in Texas, Crime Stoppers has unveiled a new project launching in 2022 to address crime in Harris County.

At a press conference led by Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman on behalf of all Constable Offices, a gift of $10,000 was presented to Crime Stoppers of Houston to support the organization’s invaluable crime-solving efforts through the Tip Line Program and their critical work to address the rising homicide rates and ramifications of discretionary bond reform.

Watch full press conference here.

Speakers included Crime Stoppers of Houston CEO Rania Mankarious, Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen, Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Harris County Commissioner Tom Ramsey, Harris County Commissioner Jack Cagle, and Crime Stoppers Safe Community Institute Director Sydney Zuiker. Others in attendance were Harris County Constables Ted Heap, Phil Sandlin, Silvia Trevino and Sherman Eagleton, as well as representatives from the Houston Police Department Central Station.

“For 41 years, Crime Stoppers of Houston has stood arm-in-arm with its partners – law enforcement, elected officials, community members and the media – with only one goal in mind: the public safety of all. Unfortunately, today, the very notion of “public safety” has become political and has created strain within our communities. There is no longer an absolute agreement on what “public safety” means and the real victims of crime are being forgotten,” said Mankarious. “Through it all, Crime Stoppers has remained focused on the victims and the safety of our community, and we will not stop. We are beyond thankful for the support of the Constable Offices that will allow us to keep working for the community.”

With this funding, Crime Stoppers is prepared to expand their work through their newly-established Safe Community Institute that will house a critically-needed research center. This research center is the first data reporting center of its kind and it has a clearly defined purpose: to accurately report on crime trends and public safety data to provide the public with a transparent view of the criminal justice system in Harris County. Its four main objectives include:

  • Track violent crime trends beginning in 2015 to see how crime in Harris County has changed since voted upon bond reform, as well as informal changes in bond procedures that have taken place in Harris County.
  • Track crimes by city district and county precinct to identify crime hotspots.
  • Track court proceedings by providing the public with a list of each criminal court Judge and over which court they preside, listing magistrates when possible, and identifying how many cases each court holds throughout the year, taking into consideration how COVID-19 has altered court proceedings for each specific court.
  • Research and report on specialized issues as identified by Crime Stoppers of Houston and the community. Some of those issues could include:
  1. How many defendants charged with capital murder or aggravated robbery were released on PR bond or low bond.
  2. How many defendants re-offended after being charged with capital murder or aggravated robbery and were released on PR bond or low bond.

Crime Stoppers believes that every single community member is entitled to clear, accurate and unbiased data about the factors affecting their safety, and is aiming for the research center to provide exactly that.

About the Author:

Mother of two. Award-winning lover of digital storytelling, sparked by my fascination of being a fashionable gossip like my favorite "Willona Woods" character from "Good Times." On the serious side, president of the Houston Association of Black Journalists and dedicated community servant. Happy to share the news with you each and every day!