Elected officials try to shift blame in violent crime from judges to bail bonding industry

"We've got a serious problem. Every elected official, at every level, has to admit we have a crisis. It's not safe on the streets of Houston," said State Senator John Whitmire.

Last week, Harris County Commissioners Court took aim at the bail bonding industry saying it was part of the reason for the rise in violent crime. Why? For not requiring defendants to pay 10% percent of the bond amount.

RELATED: County judge's plan to require 10% bond for violent offenders fails to pass

"I think it's disingenuous, I think it solves nothing," said Mario Garza President of the Professional Bondsmen of Harris County Association.

Garza says only about six out of 80 bonding companies in Houston are even offering lower than the standard 10 percent.

"Next month there's legislation that goes into effect that will basically require judges view a person's criminal history and they actually have to sign off on that before setting bond," Garza said.


Garza and others point to Criminal District Court Judges as the real culprits behind the city's rise in violent crime.

Most Criminal District Court Judges grant multiple bonds to repeat violent offenders, instead of revoking bonds and putting them back behind bars.

"They took it upon themselves to do it on their own," said Garza.

"We have a problem when you have 700 murderers loose in Harris County with an outstanding warrant," Whitmire said.


Next January, Whitmire will propose a state law that will require 10% down for every bond amount.

"Everybody knows going in if you get a $100,000 bond charged with a robbery or a murder then you're going to have to put up 10% to get out. That is fair and we will support Senator Whitmire's legislative proposal," said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers.

"Certain judges need to go to work and work overtime to clear their docket and hold repeat violent offenders accountable," Whitmire said.