Houston's Violent Crime Rate Continues to Decline

June 22, 2009 - FBI lists Houston as one of the safest large cities in the U.S.

Houston’s crime statistics for the first five months of 2009 indicate the city’s violent crime rate has decreased 1.9 percent compared to the same period a year ago.  Murders were down by 9.6 percent.

However, from January through May, there was an increase of 4.6 percent in property crimes compared to the same period in 2008.

“Due to the current economic recession, property crimes are increasing all across America, and now in Houston,” said HPD Chief Harold Hurtt.  “Since the first of the year, the Houston Police Department has noticed an increase in residential burglaries," he said. "The crimes are being committed citywide during daylight hours, when many people are away from home."

“Yet, unlike other areas of the country, Houston is fortunate that our economy continued to prosper for much of 2008,” said Chief Hurtt.  “Some of our crime prevention initiatives, like our Auto Theft Bait Car Program, helped drop auto thefts by 5.5 percent to help keep our non-violent numbers in check.”

According to the FBI’s recently released “2008 Crime in the United States” Report on violent and non-violent crime, murder was down 4.4 percent nationally, whereas Houston experienced a 16.4 percent decrease in murders.
According to FBI crime statistics released earlier this month, Houston is one of the safest large cities in the U.S.

Nationwide robberies were down an average of 1.1 percent; while Houston saw a 7.6 percent decrease in robberies.

The FBI report indicated the national average for property crimes declined 1.6 percent in 2008. Houston far exceeded that improvement by posting a 10.2 percent decrease in combined crimes of burglary, theft, and auto theft in 2008.

Chief Hurtt lauded the efforts of the HPD Crime Reduction Unit and its 60 officers in targeting hot spot areas around the city as identified in crime trend reports relayed by patrol commanders to the Crime Center.
The 24/7 Real Time Crime Center provides meaningful and trustworthy direction to law enforcement management in assigning overtime officers to combat a variety of unlawful activities including gangs and organized crime.

Under the “Officers to the Streets” Program, the HPD also identified positions in the department where officers could be replaced by civilian personnel.  That program added an additional 87 officers to patrol the streets.

“Additionally, he said, “the main focus of the Keep Houston SAFE campaign is crime prevention.”

This involves proactive enforcement efforts and measures aimed at the reduction of criminal incidents, rather than responding to crimes after they are reported.

“Please do not hesitate to call 911 to report suspicious activity in your neighborhoods, and please remove valuable items from inside your cars,” he said.

“Crime prevention starts with each person. If we all do our part to fight crime and make it as hard as possible for a criminal to commit a crime, we are helping to Keep Houston SAFE,” Chief Hurtt added.

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200 .

HPD is Hiring!