HOUSTON - A prominent pastor in Houston is doubling down his stance concerning crime within the city.
A week ago, Dr. Ed Young from Second Baptist Church in Houston, received backlash after calling Houston the most dangerous city in the United States. Following criticism from Houston leaders, the pastor doubled down his comments in a second sermon on Sunday.
"I had no idea when you stood up and simply read the best crime statistics I could put together for city and county," Dr. Young said to his congregation while being interrupted by applause, "All of the figures are somewhat mushy."
In Sunday’s sermon, the pastor re-iterated statistics he located online, including from bestplaces.net. According to Dr. Young, the violent crime rate in Houston is scored a 50.4 on the FBI scale from 1-100. In comparison, Dr. Young said the violent crime rate in Chicago is 49.9. In addition, the pastor said the property crime score for Houston is a 63.2 and Chicago’s is 46.3.
"I rest my case that Houston arguably is one of, if not the, most dangerous city in America," said Dr. Young. "That is a tragedy, tragedy, tragedy indeed."
On Monday, we spoke with Bert Sperling, Founder and President of bestplaces.net, regarding the data cited from his website.
"We get our numbers from the FBI," said Sperling. "We present the numbers and try to do comparisons, or let the people do comparisons of like-minded cities."
Sperling says their website is up-to-date with the most recent crime information shared by the FBI, which is from 2019. According to their data, Houston has higher levels of violent crime and property crime compared to New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. However, Houston’s crime levels are not listed as high as Detroit’s.
CRIME INDICES FROM 1 (LOW) TO 100 (HIGH) CRIME (according to bestplaces.net):
Houston - 50.4
New York - 28.2
Los Angeles - 29.1
Chicago - 49.9
Houston - 63.2
New York - 24.9
Los Angeles - 35.1
Chicago - 46.3
Detroit - 66.7
"Numbers can be used and they can be misused," said Sperling. "The important point is to unpack that and what it’s saying."
In a recent Houston city council meeting, officials responded to Dr. Young’s sermon on crime and provided new statistics from the Houston Police Department. According to the data shared by HPD, violent crime has decreased by 10% in 2022 in Houston compared to last year. In addition, robberies have decreased by 7% and murders have dropped by 1%.
"We have addressed the questions about crime factually and truthfully," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. "Crime Stoppers Houston, the Houston Police Department and some local media all have accurately reported the numbers in the city of Houston. Houston is not the most dangerous city in America. I cannot stop people from saying that for their own purposes. Having said that, I pray that the facts and truth will always prevail. My focus will continue to be on keeping every Houstonian safe, and I pray for that daily."
FOX 26 has reached out to Second Baptist Church and Dr. Young for comment, but haven't heard back.