Homicide numbers: 26 so far in 2022, HPD says

Here's what we know:

A little over two weeks into the new year, Houston police said the 2022 homicide count so far is 26 compared to 16 at the same time last year.

“I think the rate is very high now,” said Shirley Hunter, a Houston resident. “I don’t know what’s driving it. I just know that it has increased since I’ve been living in this area.”

Last Friday, police told KPRC 2 the count was at 13. When KPRC 2 checked on Tuesday, the number had doubled.

“We can attribute this back to the issue of letting people out of jail, not holding people accountable for their actions,” said Doug Griffith, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union.

He’s referring to the bond system.

“I honestly do not believe that it’s an issue regarding policing,” Griffith said. “We have more felony arrests this year. Felony arrests are up, but again, those same felons are getting right back out. That makes it difficult for us to do our job.”

The unofficial numbers released on the last day of December showed Houston’s murders increased 17% last year, though police said the murder rate numbers were trending down in the second half of the year and the overall issue is not unique to Houston.

Juan Antonio Sorto, a member of the Super Neighborhood Alliance, said it’s a complex issue, but first pointed to judges.

“I would suggest that we start by first looking at who is in charge of allowing those defendants, repeat offenders, I should say, to continue to be out on the street,” Sorto said.

KPRC 2 reached out to the mayor’s office on Tuesday but a spokeswoman said the mayor was going to defer comments to HPD.

Houston police did not comment on the numbers on Tuesday, but a police spokesman said the chief will address the issue in the next few days.

UPDATE: City Leaders react to the increase in homicide numbers.

City leaders believe several issues are to blame for the rise in homicides in Houston

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