HOUSTON - If it seems you're hearing about more crime lately it isn't a coincidence. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says violent crimes have increased.
Murders in Houston are up according to the chief, considerably in two areas: gang crime and drug-related. "Our homicides are up significantly. They're up about 44% year to date,” says Chief Acevedo.
In the overnight hours before the Chief held his news conference, there were four more people shot in Houston in three different shootings. "We had approximately a little under 200 homicides involving firearms, year to date (compared to) last year. This year we have approximately 300 involving firearms.” A total of 350 murders in all.
The chief says family violence involving guns is also up by 41% and there's a 33% spike in road rage killings, with six deaths this year.
"The peak time frame is broad daylight from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m."
Acevedo is the President of the Major City Chiefs Organization and says this year, crime has increased in many cities across the country.
"Sadly, in this very unprecedented year that we're having as a nation with COVID, the economic downturn, and many other things happening in our nation."
"It's high time we recognize the revolving door at the courthouse is playing a major significant role in the increased crime rates,” says Andy Kahan with Houston CrimeStoppers.
Acevedo agrees, blaming bond reform as a significant contributor to the rise in crime.
"If you would have told me that someday I'd be in a major American city and violent criminals would be getting out on personal bonds and $100 bonds in Texas with murderers going in one door and out the other I would have said you're crazy."
Kahan, for nearly a year, has been tracking murders committed by people who are out on multiple felony bonds. "I am now up to 68 people who have been killed. Of the 68, 41 so far in the year 2020." Kahan shares an example, "Jon Parfait was given a felony PR bond October 23, 2020. Two weeks later Danielle Bradley was shot and killed."
Chief Acevedo says Mayor Turner is increasing funding to the department to help combat crime.
Also, you may have heard Dallas has asked the state for help after its surge in violent crime. The Chief says he spoke with Attorney General William Barr last month and additional prosecutors were added in Harris County.
Acevedo also says HPD has a partnership with ATF, FBI, the DEA and he says “we already work closely with DPS ... thank God for those state and federal resources."