HOUSTON — The Houston Police Department held a press conference Monday morning to discuss crime rates and other police-related statistics for 2017 and if you're investigating crime stats in Houston, there's good news and bad news.
First the bad news!
Sexual assaults increased between 2016 and 2017. According to police chief Art Acevedo, rape went up 12.6 percent. Houston had more aggravated assaults, too, 13.8 percent more. The chief says in more than 70 percent of those, the suspects knew their victims. Acevedo says that's not a police issue. The failure's on us as a society and we need to treat one another with more decency.
"Understand that it's okay to turn around and walk away, rather than get a chair and break it over somebody's head. Or to get a knife and stab somebody. Or to let the emotion get a hold of you, and snap. The next thing you know, you're doing something that you'll regret for the rest of your life."
The city's top cop says response time to low-level crimes has gotten worse and that's a budget issue. "We can't continue being the fastest growing big city of 2 million or more in the country and not grow the police department. It just doesn't work. We can't have 500,000 more people and 300 fewer cops. It doesn't work."
Overall, crime reported in Houston is down 2.1 percent.
The city had 269 murders last year, which is 32 less than the year before. Of those murders, 53 were gang-related.
"We know we have about 20,000 documented gang members in the city of Houston," Acevedo said.
Forty-three murders involved family violence, 17 were narcotics-related.
"When you're involved in that kind of stuff, you live by the sword you die by the sword. Sadly we lost 9 people to murder suicides," said Acevedo.
When it comes to crimes that all of us could fall victim to, there's more good news.
We reported 200 fewer robberies and non-violent crimes.
But given the latest numbers, NewsFix viewer responses are mixed.
Aaron Grar said he felt safe but Gregory Gilbert says, "I believe crime is gonna go up higher and get worse and worse."
Brian Jones believes, "It's a lot that's fixed, but it's a lot to work on."
No matter what the crime statistics say, it's safe to say, nobody wants to become another one.