This year, so far, there have been 229 homicides, an increase of 42% from last year, according to the Houston Police Department.
Harris County officials now addressing the backlog of cases in the criminal court system Monday morning as a big factor.
They say the problem first started in 2017 when Hurricane Harvey struck and only worsened through the pandemic.
"When serious cases aren’t adjudicated quickly, it gives a sense that government isn’t doing its part in addressing serious crime," said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. "It makes victims feel ignored and it makes offenders feel empowered."
As of now, the county has 100,000 cases pending in criminal court system, 40,000 cases are well past national standard and 20,000 of those have been pending for over a year.
Jason Allen, who’s brother was killed in April of 2020, is part of that latter group. He's is frustrated over the lack in movement of his brother’s case.
"After those individuals were charged with murder and aggravated robbery of my brother, we haven’t heard anything else," said Allen.
For Jason, the backlog of cases is unacceptable no matter the cause.
"We shouldn’t have this type of backlog, especially being the third-largest city," said Allen. "The backlog of 100,000 cases is just crazy to me."
Hidalgo mentioned four major proposals for the county, most have to do with the criminal court system.
The county plans on bringing in six associate judges, approving half a million dollars to expand jury operations at NRG and to propose funding for visiting judges to help with the case load.
The Harris County Commissioners Court will meet Tuesday to approve a proposed $14.8 million budget for the county that will go towards public safety measures, which will include the court system and law enforcement technology.