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Overall Houston Crime Down, Homicides Up In 2018

The Houston Police Department has released its year-end crime stats.

HPD Chief Art Acevedo (third from right) discusses crime statistics pertaining to 2018.

Total crime in Houston dropped by 4.4 percent from 2017 to 2018, and violent crime went down by 10.4 percent, according to data released by the Houston Police Department Monday.

However, there were 279 more homicides last year, 10 more than in 2017 – a 3.7 percent increase.

That makes Houston one of only a few major U.S. cities where the number of homicides went up in 2018, according to a December analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice.

Washington, D.C., is one other notable exception, whereas murders in high-crime cities like Chicago and Baltimore went down.

But Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the longer-term trend is a better indicator, and murders went down in 2016 and 2017.

“I promise you long term we’re trending in the right direction, including homicides,” he said. “We’re trending in the right direction in everything our community should care about.”

This, he said, despite limited resources. The chief has long said the police department is understaffed.

Acevedo said 37 percent of homicides were either gang-related or family violence.

And, he said, the number of family murders in particular went up by 38 percent compared to 2017. The Houston Police Department has started some programs to tackle domestic violence and is working on more, the chief said.

The 279 Houston murders did not come close to the Brennan Center for Justice’s projection in December, which predicted a 24.7 percent increase in homicides for the year.

Robberies were down for the fourth straight year, nearly 1,000 fewer last year than in 2017.

Acevedo said robberies really tell the story of what is happening in a city, because it is usually a stranger-on-stranger crime.

“Think about that for a minute,” Acevedo said. “A thousand people that didn’t have a gun placed at their head or in their face, or a knife or a bat or some other form of force to rob them.”

Among non-violent crime, only auto theft went up slightly in 2018, by 2.3 percent, while burglaries have gone down every year since at least 2014.

You can read a chart with HPD data that contains information about crime from the year 2014 to 2018 here:

 

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters and the Houston Press Club. Florian is a native of Germany. His studies...

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