HPD praised for 2017 crime numbers as Houston celebrates lower murder rates

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks with the media during a business forum in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. The forum was attended by business representatives from Houston and Havana, to explore opportunities in areas of health, sports, energy, commerce and art, according to local state-run media Cubadebate. (Ismael Francisco, Cubadebate via AP)

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Although early numbers for homicides showed an uptick in murder across the nation, Houston closed out 2017 on a downward trend, indicating the city is safer now than in previous years.

On New Year’s Day, Mayor Sylvester Turner recognized the Houston Police Department for the work they’ve put into bringing down crime across the city — efforts that are getting dramatic results.

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According to Turner’s tweets, Houston tallied 269 murders throughout 2017, which is down 33 from 2016’s total. This is the lowest rate in three years and down from a five-year high reached in 2015.

He also noted the number of murders in 1981 reached a shocking 701.

Turner credited Chief Art Acevedo for achieving great results for the city even with an understaffed police department.

As RARE previously reported, Acevedo explained his policy for addressing crime in an interview last July, as early data for 2017 indicated a downshift in crime across Houston.

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According to Acevedo, HPD is reducing major crimes like homicide by increasing their response to lower level crimes like aggravated-assault and non-lethal shootings. By taking these criminals off the streets, future crimes are prevented.

“I’m convinced we charged people for lesser offenses that if not pursued, would have turned into homicides,” Acevedo told the Houston Chronicle in a July interview.

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