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March 1, 2008

Houston Police Department Abduction Update

Dear Houstonian: 

A citizen whose spouse was brutalized by crime fairly asked whether the mayor and city leaders are paying attention. We are. I get daily reports concerning our investigation and I, in turn, report to Mayor White. 

The incident occurred in Patrol Beat 1a40, where Capt. Mark Hollaway and his officers are working hard every day.  The number of violent crimes in this beat has been stable but consistently lower than in 2003, with one exception. In 2005 -- the exception -- a surge in population caused a crime spike. The patrol beat is bounded roughly by Buffalo Bayou on the north and Westheimer on the south. It extends to just west of Willowick on the west and to Shepherd on the east.

In late 2005, we increased overtime by tens of millions of dollars per year, representing the equivalent of 500 officers.   We are expanding our police force by 500 officers in order to maintain that level of overtime. The strategy of adding police officers while supplementing the force through overtime worked effectively in the 1990s to reduce crime from levels much higher than they are today, and in the last two years this same strategy has been working to bring down the overall violent crime rate throughout the city.

As Mayor White has repeatedly said, no violent crime is acceptable, and the best way to continue the reduction in violent crime is to continue to investigate, arrest, and incarcerate the perpetrators.  That is our goal in the most recent case in your neighborhood. 

Harold Hurtt
Chief of Police