It seems like a dangerous time to be alive. If you watch much television, you could be convinced that the world is a very violent place, and the news is just as guilty as primetime dramas. But television doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, it frequently gets things very wrong. New figures say that the murder rate in Houston in 2012 was 216. This is the second lowest rate for the city since 1966.
While the rate jumped slightly when compared with 2011 when it was 198, officials say the rate is still “incredibly low”. When you watch the news, and see story after story of violence, it’s hard to believe you are less likely to be murdered now than in the days of Leave It To Beaver—but it’s true.
Homicide Captain David Gott says his department has cleared 70% of their murder cases for 2012. This means the case has been resolved either by arrest, death of a suspect, or the murder was determined to be justifiable.
While many people think a bad economy leads to higher than normal crime, this simply isn’t the case. As is seen again and again across the country, the current poor economic state has little effect on crime rates.
The falling murder rate, says associate criminal justice dean at Sam Houston State University William King, is “an orphan everyone wants to adopt.” In explaining why the rate is falling, many possible reasons are given.
The aging population likely has something to do with it. As people get older, they are far less likely to commit violent acts, and with a large segment of the population (Baby Boomers) getting up there in age, violent crime rates naturally drop.
Also, the spike in murders and other violent acts we saw with the invasion of crack-cocaine in the 1990s has died down, both with the declining popularity of crack, increased enforcement, and communities that have said enough is enough when it comes to violence.
Finally, focused enforcement by police in particularly high crime areas could be having a positive effect. While HPD doesn’t divulge their tactics, they say they do “target certain areas” when crime spikes.
Whatever the cause, Houston residents will gladly take the lower violence.
If you are accused of a violent offense like assault or even a drug crime, you need someone on your side. Contact our attorneys today to discuss your case and how we might be able to help.