Crime Stoppers Houston Unveils New Index to Track Violent Crime

The organization – alongside law enforcement, prosecutors, families of victims and business owners – revealed the launch of the index in conjunction with the new Glenda Gordy Research Center. The data should be available online by this fall as part of the organization’s Safe Community Institute, according to the institute’s director, Sydney Zuiker.

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In January, Zuiker said the group would track violent crime trends from 2015 as criminal justice actors continue to debate the county’s bail system and whether it played a role in the crime in the area.

“The Crime Index will be a regular report on criminal crimes in Harris County to include homicides, aggravated assaults, sexual assaults and firearms offenses,” Zuiker said. “We plan to update this information monthly, and we will provide a mid-year crime report every June, as we do today.”

Information from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Harris County Clerk’s Office will be used to compile the data, Zuiker said, adding that the goal was to make the data accessible. to residents.

“During our research, we discovered that there just wasn’t a centralized location for everything. So we do it internally,” she said. “It will be an easy place for everyone in the community to come and find exactly what they need in a very digestible way.”

The data will initially include federal, state and local data, but will eventually focus more on local statistics over the next year, according to Zuiker.

Among the data presented Wednesday was a 333% increase in the number of Texan children – up to 11 years old – killed because of gun violence in the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year. . The data was compiled using reports from DPS, Houston Police and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, according to Crime Stoppers.

In other categories, based on data provided by the HPD and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the organization’s statistics showed a 5% decrease in homicides and a 4% decrease in assaults. serious this year compared to 2021.

The center will also focus on reporting crime rates by county precinct and tracking judges, magistrates and repeat defendants released on bail for violent crimes, according to the organization. They also plan to document which courts have the highest number of defendants released on recognizance or bail.

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Ahead of the announcement, law enforcement officials and lawmakers reiterated their support for the role Crime Stoppers Houston is playing in solving crimes in the area after recent reports criticized the partisan group in local media. .

“Crime Stoppers works. I’m tired of hearing “when did crime become a partisan issue?” and this is one of my questions. When did this become a partisan issue? Crime Does Not Discriminate,” Harris County Pct. 1 said Constable Alan Rosen. “It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican, Democrat, Libertarian. It doesn’t matter if you are rich, you are poor, you are educated, you are uneducated, your race, your gender, your religion, crime does not discriminate.

Other law enforcement officials — such as Doug Griffith of the Houston Police Officers’ Union — criticized Harris County judges for not taking a tougher stance on continuing violators and encouraged voters to take action at the polls.

“I’m going to tell you about these judges,” Griffith said. “Most of these judges were brought in during the Beto (O’Rourke) sweep, which is neither here nor there. The problem is that they are not doing their job.

Griffith also referenced a case where Judge Franklin Bynum of the Harris County “socialist” misdemeanor wore a “Defund the police” shirt.

“We have several of these judges who are just activists. They say on their website that they don’t believe people should be in jail. It is a problem. It’s not their job,” he said. “Again, I don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Go ahead, be educated and make that choice.

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April Aguirre – a family friend of 9-year-old Arlene Alvarez, who was shot and killed in February – slammed Judge Lina Hidalgo and her public feud with District Attorney Kim Ogg, urging the judge to work for the citizens of Harris County and provide prosecutors and law enforcement with appropriate support.

“You need to focus on Harris County and, if not you, then who?” said Aguirre. “If you have your differences with Kim Ogg, it’s not our fault. It’s not Arlene’s fault. We need justice at the end, for the victims. The only thing we have is our DA to get justice for us. We don’t have anyone else.

Later Wednesday, Hidalgo’s office released a statement outlining some of the county’s financial support for public safety efforts.

“This year, Judge Hidalgo approved a $1.4 billion budget for public safety, the highest ever allocated to justice and safety initiatives in Harris County history,” the statement said. “It includes raises for every law enforcement agency in the county, 400 new vehicles for constables and the sheriff’s office, and pay increases for police. It also includes breakthrough investments in crime prevention initiatives. youth crime, targeted enforcement of high-crime micro-areas, ‘efforts to combat the scourge, and efforts to reduce the criminal court backlog.’

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Mark M. Gagnon