Despite rising crime numbers, Fort Bend County's DA says a study gives neighbors reason to feel safe

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Friday, January 26, 2024
Crime rising in Fort Bend County but DA says you should feel safe
After Fort Bend County saw a rise recently in crimes including burglary, theft and drugs, leaders wanted to know why.

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- Despite rising crime numbers from 2022, Fort Bend County's top prosecutor said digging deeper into the numbers shows why neighbors should feel safe.

Inside a packed Texas Safari Ranch room in Richmond for a Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce event, the question on the screen was what was on everyone's mind. Are you safe in Fort Bend County?

Fact sheets on the table showed certain crimes, including drugs, theft, and burglary, were up two years ago. Despite this, the county's top prosecutor told the room they should feel safe.

"We're doing everything we can to keep our communities safe, and the data shows it," District Attorney Brian Middleton explained.

A study is underway looking at what's behind the county's crime. Leaders said in growing communities, it's not homeowners feeling the effect of increased property crimes but those building the structures.

They also said there are challenges with people who visit, especially in Sugar Land, where an Astros player on a rehab assignment can attract thousands, and criminals know it.

The study also looked at violent crime victims. What it found was that 90% were victimized by family or someone they knew, and only 10% were by strangers.

"You would think a stranger would do more harm to you than someone you know that they would help you out versus doing harm to you," Fort Bend County resident Keisha Pichon said.

Leaders hope the study will also help them curb crime. The data, they said, can help agencies focus on certain areas. However, they've found agencies don't have the ability to find this information.

"What we've discovered is some of those agencies are short on those resources," Middleton explained. "When we fill up that gap and do more analysis of the data, we can develop better strategies."

It's not all about data. Law enforcement also told the pack it's turning to other resources to cut crime because it's struggling to find officers.

"We use technology more and more to catch crime before it happens or when it is actually happening," Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan said.

On Thursday, we only saw a small sample of the study. The DA's office said it'll be released later.

They say tax dollars didn't fund it. Instead, it used money it received from drug-related arrests.

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