Thursday, December 31, 2020

Houston's homicides increase by 42% in 2020

Across the city of Houston, 400 people were murdered as of December 29, 2020. That's a spike of at least 42% over 2019 and 100 more than the highs seen in 2015 and 2016, when the city hit 300 murders, according to ABC13.

Violence across the city is up, with aggravated assaults seeing similar upward trends in a year that has been merciless.Houston's murder rate has increased over the past 10 years, but some dips in the past few years gave officials hope that the city had turned the corner.

2020's massive increase dashes those hopes amid a pandemic that is keeping suspected criminals from court dates and trials.Without the court system being able to operate, courts are backlogged at least 18 months, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, who commented on previous 13 Investigates reporting of the huge slowdown in the court system.Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told ABC13's Ted Oberg that officers are laughed at by suspects, who say they'll be free in no time and back on the street.

Murders have happened across the city, according to an ABC13 analysis that shows no area is immune from crime.

Mayor Sylvester Turner has pledged millions of dollars to help get more officers on the street, but has little progress to show for it so far, according to previous reporting by the 13 Investigates team.

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