Jan 12, 2023 - News

Houston's violent crime is trending down

Illustration of a number sign made out of crime scene tape.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Violent crimes were down last year in Houston, although still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Driving the news: The Houston Police Department released preliminary statistics Wednesday showing a 9% decrease in murders from 2021 to 2022.

By the numbers: 435 people were murdered in the Bayou City in 2022, compared to 477 people in 2021, 427 in 2020 and 291 in 2019, before the pandemic fueled violent crimes in major metros across the country.

  • Sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and human trafficking were also down compared to 2021.

Why it matters: The new numbers are a victory for Mayor Sylvester Turner's One Safe Houston, which leveraged federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act last year to add overtime for officers, enhance crisis intervention methods, and increase community partnerships and youth outreach.

Yes, but: Nonviolent crime increased from 96,387 incidents in 2021 to 103,516 in 2022.

  • HPD assistant chief Wyatt Martin said auto theft and catalytic converter thefts contributed to the increase.
  • Another big concern, according to Martin, is the number of guns stolen from inside vehicles, which increased from around 3,700 in 2021 to 4,140 in 2022.

What they're saying: "We're never going to be done until there's no crime," Martin told City Council members Wednesday, "which means we're pretty much never going to be done."

Between the lines: Violent crime was a centerpiece talking point for several local Republicans on the ballot last November, including for county judge candidate Alexandra Mealer, who lost to Democrat Lina Hidalgo.

What's next: Police chief Troy Finner said expanding Turner's One Safe Houston initiative is a priority for HPD in 2023.

  • "It's a fact that it's been successful," Finner said.

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