Harris Co. administrator shows decrease in crime but not the full picture, 13 Investigates uncovers

Daniela Hurtado Image
Thursday, October 27, 2022
Harris Co. numbers show drop in violent crime but not full picture
Harris County leaders announced violent crime is down 12% across the county. So 13 Investigates is getting the facts behind the figures.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Promising statistics were shown this week during commissioners' court about violent crime across Harris County decreasing.

Statistics revealed Harris County is seeing an overall 12% decrease in violent crime.

"The numbers that we are seeing in violent crime today are lower from last year, and the numbers we saw in 2021 were trending down from 2020. We are moving in the right direction - downward," David Berry, the Harris County Administrator, said in a news release to the ABC13 newsroom.

What the numbers don't explain is that they're combined from agencies across the county through DPS statistics. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez explains it's a macro look at violent crimes, which he says is optimistic. However, it doesn't paint the full picture of what's going on across Harris County.

"I believe the county measured those numbers as a collective of all Harris County numbers. Obviously, there's a lot of different jurisdictions in Harris County," Gonzalez told ABC13.

Statistics from the county administrator show rape saw the biggest decrease at 34% fewer cases reported now, compared to this time last year.

Robbery and Aggravated Assaults were down 11% and homicide is down 13%.

If we take a wider look, homicides are actually still higher than they were in the years right before the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Obviously, there's more to it and there are still pockets where there's going to be a crime that's maybe higher, or certain categories that may be higher in certain jurisdictions," Gonzalez said.

For example, the Harris County Sheriff's Office is seeing a decrease in some violent crimes like aggravated robbery and aggravated assaults. However, the investigators are actually seeing an increase in some crimes.

SEE ALSO: ABC13 Neighborhood Safety Tracker

"We are up on murders, for example. But when you look at the vast majority, or the biggest category, are related to domestic violence and also to gangs, narcotics-related," Gonzalez said.

He explains in unincorporated Harris County, homicides are up 10% year over year, about 30% of which are domestic-related.

So while the sheriff says the downward trend in the county's combined agency violent crime numbers is progress, he recognizes there is a lot of work to be done

You can look through the overall combined county statistics on DPS's website.

More crime data can be seen in the county's Index-Crimes dashboard.

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