HPD chief says Houston needs 2,000 more officers to fight crime

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It is good news and bad news from the Houston Police Department when it comes to the city's 2017 crime statistics.

Chief Art Acevedo held a news conference Monday morning to discuss levels of crime in Houston last year.

The chief said the city is on the right track in a lot of ways despite having to do more with less.

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Acevedo was critical of Governor Greg Abbott for proposing revenue caps for cities. He says the city is operating with 2,000 fewer officers than it should.

Still, overall crime was down 2.1 percent in 2017.

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The number of murders dropped by 32 compared to 2016, coming in at 269 for 2017.

Stats show at least 20 percent of the murders were known to be gang related, 16 percent involved family or domestic violence, 7.3 percent involved strangers and more than 6 percent of murders involved drugs.

Chief Acevedo said when looking at murders it is important to understand the victim's criminal history as well as the suspect's.

In the city's 269 murders, 73 percent of the victims had a criminal history.

Ten percent of the murders were committed by a suspect who was on probation, 5 percent were on parole and 5 percent of the murder suspects were out on bond.

Non-violent crime was down more than 4 percent in 2017.

Houston saw an increase of sexual assaults in 2017. These violent attacks increased by more than 12 percent, up to 1,378 rapes.

Aggravated assaults were also up by nearly 14 percent.

Chief Acevedo said in 70 percent of aggravated assault cases the victims knew their assailants.

The chief praised the department for its response time to life threatening 911 calls but said call time got slower for what he referred to as "quality of life" calls.

Acevedo apologized for not being able to respond to calls like noise complaints and burglaries faster. He went back to his call for more officers and more finances to increase the size of the force.

Eyewitness News reporter Tom Abrahams had some tough questions for Chief Acevedo at Monday's news conference and will have more tonight at 4 p.m. on ABC13.

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