WHY DO YOU THINK CRIME IS DOWN IN HOUSTON?
In response to the economic recession, the nation has experienced an increase in crime. In Houston, however the violent crime figures have significantly decreased, while the non-violent crime rate is virtually unchanged with a 1% increase. Uniformed Crime Reports (UCR) show in FY 2007- 2008 (July –March) Total Part 1 Crimes were down only about 1% in comparison to the same nine month period of FY 2008 – FY 2009 which reveals a decrease of almost 7% in violent crimes in Houston.
UCR crime stats further indicate that an examination of the first three months of 2009 (January-March) compared to the same period of 2008, violent crimes have declined by 8% in Houston. More importantly, the murder rate has dropped significantly by almost 22% from January – April 27, 2009, compared to the same period of 2008. Additionally, as of March 2009, gang murders were down 47% from the same time period one year ago.
UCR defines violent crime as murders, rapes, robbery and aggravated assault, while non-violent crimes are identified as property crimes, burglary and auto theft.
“While the city has made progress in reducing violent crime, we must remain vigilant in continuing our efforts to combat overall crime in the city,” said Houston Police Department Chief Harold Hurtt. “Fighting and controlling crime takes a coordinated and team effort involving citizens, businesses and police.”
With the dip in violent crimes in Houston, citizens must be mindful that the recession will continue to present challenges. “As the economy goes down,” says Hurtt, “burglary and theft will increase, therefore to keep Houston safe, we are asking all citizens to take precautions in securing their homes, belongings and cars.”
The Houston Police Department spotlights prevention and safety by providing local communities and businesses with tips, crime prevention programs and initiatives that include the following:
- Operation ID Program involves engraving property with an identifying number to thwart theft of belongings
- HPD has under a five minute response time to emergency calls made within the city limits
- Police Advisory Council (PAC) consists of leaders of various community and civic groups that provide advice to the police chief and other department commanders during monthly meetings
- Crime Prevention Assistance can be obtained through HPD’s Community Services Unit- 713-308-3200
- Citizens are encouraged to report suspicious activity to 713-884-3131
- Get involved in your neighborhood Citizen Patrol or Neighborhood Watch Program
- Use proper locks on your doors and windows. Install lights in areas around doors, walkways and driveways. Have an alarm system installed in your home
- Remove valuable items from view in your car such as a purse, laptop computer, cell phone or GPS unit
- SECURE your belongings, TAKE your car keys, LOCK your car
- Crime Stoppers of Houston will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and charging of any felony suspect. All callers will remain anonymous. Crime Stoppers can be reached at 713-222-TIPS (8477).
“Houston’s crime rate is at one of its lowest points in over two decades,” says Chief Hurtt. Chief Hurtt’s comments are based on figures from UCR’s Part One, Total All Crime Comparison of the City of Houston from 1980 – 2008, as evidenced by the chart below.