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Yesterday the FBI released the crime statistics for 2018. Those numbers confirm precisely what I have been saying on the campaign trail. Violent crime, after years of decline, has gone up dramatically since Sylvester Turner took office.
As opposed to the guesstimate reported in the Houston Chronicle earlier this month, here are the actual numbers from the FBI:
Violent crime in Houston had been on long-term decline prior to the Turner administration. But in 2016 and 2017 we saw a dramatic reversal of that trend. In 2017, there were 25,609 violent crimes. That was the highest total since 2009 and the second-highest since 2000.
According to the new data, there was about a 6% decrease in violent crime in 2018 compared to the elevated levels in 2017. However, we still had 9.4% more violent crimes in 2018 than in Parker’s last year in office, not 4% as erroneously reported in the Houston Chronicle.
Of course, the number that jumps off the page here is the 68% increase in rapes. That number is somewhat exaggerated because in 2014 the FBI changed to a more expansive definition of rape. That change resulted in a third increase in the number of rapes that year. But even if you compare the number of rapes in the Parker administration after the definition was changed to Turner’s years in office, there is still a 42% increase. It is hard to know what is going on when you see this kind of dramatic increase. There may be some changes in reporting behavior. But the fact that four of our fellow citizens are being raped every day in our City is unacceptable.
We certainly don’t need any fearmongering about crime. But neither do we need anyone minimizing crime to support their political agenda. If you want a mayor that will tell you the unvarnished truth, the good and the bad, I’m your man.