Houston leaders say crime rate is down

January 23, 2013 5:01:06 PM PST
After all the robberies and shootings we've reported, it's hard to believe the crime rate has remained relatively flat for the last few years; at least in Houston, that is, according to statistics released Wednesday.

Sydney Hanson's family home still shows the scars of a burglary 10 days ago.

"My sense of security is completely gone. I feel very violated," said Hanson.

For Hanson, it may be hard to believe that burglaries are down three percent citywide between 2011 and 2012; one of many crime statistics released by the police chief Wednesday.

"If you're a crime victim, one crime is too many to you, and certainly there are some pockets around this city that gives us more difficulty than others," said Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland.

Is Houston safer? It depends on the type of crime.

Comparing 2011 to just released 2012 numbers, you'll see Houston had 19 more murders, but 106 fewer rapes. Robberies were up by over a thousand while aggravated assaults were down.

"HPD targets hotspots, HPD works with citizens to see where crime is inching up so we can put it back down again," said Mayor Annise Parker.

The five year trend in Houston is positive. Crime has been going down from 295 murders in 2008 to 217 in 2012; from 750 rapes to 665; robberies are down by more than one thousand; and aggravated assaults are down by 1,700.

But for Hanson, who has been tracking her stolen Macbook Pro through a phone locater app, the lack of information about her particular burglary just adds to the frustration.

"We had this false sense of security and it just got smashed and now we're kind of just trying to get back on our feet and figure out what's next," Hanson said.

Parker and McClelland noted that even one murder or rape is one too many, and that there is always work to be done on those non-violent property crimes that tend to hit closer to home and are more prevalent among the general public than violent crimes.