Crime Stoppers releases Harris County violent crime data

Despite a slight decrease in violent crimes like homicides from last year, law enforcement officials say more needs to be done to keep violent criminals behind bars.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Families of murder victims joined law enforcement officials and Crime Stoppers in Houston on Wednesday morning to release new data on violent crime in Houston and demand action to bring it under control.

“You can’t solve a problem if you don’t admit you have one,” said State Sen. John Whitmire. “We have one, Houston.”

Whitmire joined leaders at the press conference to draw attention to violent crime in Houston. He said criminals were too likely to reoffend in Harris County.

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“The 117,000 inmates, which is 30,000 different from two years ago, where do you think they are? They’re on the streets of Houston,” Whitmire said. “Recidivists.”

Whitmire gave Jeremiah Jones as a recent example. Jones is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend’s 9-year-old daughter. Jones was at large on five felony bonds at the time of the murder earlier this month.

“The criminals out there feel emboldened because they know they’ll come out, they know they won’t be held accountable,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

Crime Stoppers’ new research center has compiled a mid-year report that breaks down violent crime in the area. It found that from January to June this year, homicides were down 5% from a year ago, but remain on the rise overall since 2020.

Sexual assaults and aggravated assaults are also down slightly in the first part of this year compared to last year, but are also still up compared to 2020.

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Gun violence has taken a heavy toll on Texas children.

“This year we saw a 333% increase in the number of Texan children killed due to gun violence compared to the same benchmark period last year,” said Sydney Zuiker of Crime Stoppers of Houston. “Even if we eliminate the children lost in the Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde, the number of children killed in Texas is double what it was last year.”

Crime Stoppers plans to release an interactive dashboard with more data by fall, but in the meantime, law enforcement officials and victims’ families are calling on the courts to do more to root out the crime. backlog aggravated first by Hurricane Harvey, then by a global crisis. pandemic.

“If we don’t deal with the backlog, we won’t be safe,” Whitmire said.

Mark M. Gagnon