Murders down in first part of 2008

HOUSTON Unofficial numbers released by the homicide division indicate 78 murders were recorded through the first three months of this year compared to 88 murders for the same period in 2007. That marks an 11.3 percent decrease.

Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt said the sharp decline is a testament to outstanding efforts of officers working on targeted crime initiatives and overtime programs throughout the city.

"While murders are nearly impossible crimes to predict and prevent, we do feel our overtime programs in place, including those officers assigned to our crime reduction unit, can impact crimes that could escalate to murder," said Chief Hurtt.

He added, "When we experience a decline in the most violent crime category at the same time our city's population continues to increase, that sends a message that our 'Keep Houston Safe' campaign and our crime initiatives can have an impact on all types of crime."

Just last week, the crime reduction unit arrested its 2,000th felony suspect since its squads of 60 officers were deployed to neighborhoods around the city beginning in November 2007.

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