Crime in the City of Houston on decline since ‘One Safe Houston’ initiative was created by Mayor Sylvester Turner

HOUSTON – It’s been nearly 100 days since Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced his latest initiative to combat crime in Houston. “We are launching the One Safe Houston crime reduction initiative,” said Turner back in early February at City Hall.

While the total cost of the initiative was $44.6 million dollars, Turner made it clear he was investing $5.7 million dollars to the initiatives. As he put it, “it is important now that we have more boots on the ground.”

Those boots belong to HPD officers. The investment was specifically being used for overtime dollars within HPD. The additional funding is equivalent to an extra 125 more officers on the streets to beef up patrols.

What are the crime stats showing? The numbers for Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, and Burglary continue to decline from their marks in 2021.

HOMICIDE NUMBERS COMING DOWN FOR 2022, BUT NOT IN COMPARISON TO 2021

What about homicides? On January 24, the homicide rate peaked at 73% higher in year-to-date comparisons. It has since plummeted to as low as 5% this past Monday. The percentage still translates to an increase of approximately 23 more homicides this year.

However, Turner’s $5.7 million dollar investment in putting more ‘boots on the ground,’ will soon be off the streets according to HPD Officials.

HPD Commander Kevin Deese who heads up the homicide division remains optimistic. “I think we can hold onto those gains,” said Deese.

Deese recently met with KPRC 2 Investigates at HPD headquarters and admits more permanent police officers is a benefit to HPD.

“Ideally we would like to have that permanent number of the extra 125 bodies on the street every day,” Deese said.

However, Houston Police Officers Union President Doug Griffith says the culmination of the overtime funding after three months is on everyone’s radar. “It’s concerning, again. We’ve been in touch with the Mayor trying to work something out to maybe some kind of program we can continue on,” said Griffith.

Marnita Hinton lost her son Christopher Mena 18 months ago after he was gunned down in a south Houston parking lot.  His murder is one of many in the city that remains unsolved.

Hinton says HPD investigators admit they are overwhelmed, “the detective told me they have many homicides,” said Hinton.

Community Activist Quanell X says he hears a common concern from various communities over their safety. “None of feel us safer today than we did one year ago,” said X, who added, " I don’t care how affluent your neighborhood is. I don’t care how much your house costs. At the end of the day in the City of Houston, crime is at your front door.”

MAYOR TURNER’S ADDITIONAL SOLUTIONS

Mayor Turner, who examines crime stats daily, recently revealed other solutions to combat crime that do not cost the city money. One of them was passed by City Council on Wednesday, the elimination of catalytic converters sales inside the city to curb rising thefts and in some cases, deadly violence.  Another strategy?  The requirement of cameras and better lighting in convenience stores.

Turner is confident the preventative measures being taken will continue to curb crime, saying “as we move forward through the course of this year, I believe you are going to see decreasing criminal activity in this city.”


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