Noted for the record. Don’t let it get in the way of any campaigns.
Houston was part of a nationwide decline in most crime statistics in major cities, leading one crime data analyst to say the trend shows that it is nearly impossible to conclude whether one department is doing better at law enforcement than another.
A new report released Friday from the Major Cities Chiefs Association reinforces crime data from the Houston Police Department. Between 2022 and 2023, reported homicides have declined in Houston from 331 to 268; robberies from 5,512 to 4,970 and aggravated assaults from 13,626 to 12,523, according to the report. The comparison is from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 of both years.
The city’s numbers mirror a nationwide decrease across the board, according to data from the report. Across the country, homicides declined from 6,635 to 5,927; robberies from 79,591 to 77,603; and aggravated assaults from 218,906 to 211,380, according to data from 69 responding agencies.
“This likely reflects larger national trends that are evident in the 2022 Uniform Crime Report data, that have continued to accelerate in 2023,” said Jeff Asher, a New Orleans-based criminologist and cofounder of AH Datalytics.
Police Chief Troy Finner in October told the city council that violent and nonviolent crimes were down across Houston, crediting an increase in federal prosecution for gang violence had helped cause some of the decline. Mayor Sylvester Turner in that meeting said he was frustrated at Houston’s crime-related perception, given the decline.
Asher said it’s tough to prove that a single program or new strategy deserves credit for a big drop.
One could say the same about the increase that preceded it. This is not to say that there aren’t smart strategies for dealing with crime, and less-smart strategies. Just that what we often get is a lot of blunt force rhetoric that responds to how people feel about crime, which usually doesn’t lead to anything productive. I’m just noting this for context when the next taking credit/casting blame cycle about crime begins.