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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Houston's crime - and the evacuees

New Orleans, you need to pay attention to what’s going on over in the Houston area. The ramifications of a “glad they’re there and not here”, laissez-faire approach to the future (in terms of crime) are going to hurt everybody.

Police chief ties Katrina evacuees to more killings

Katrina evacuees were the victims or suspects in 23 homicides between September and December, Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt said this morning, doubling the department's earlier numbers on how many killings have been linked to people from Louisiana.

The 23 homicides account for nearly 20 percent of all homicides in the city during that period of time, according to Houston Police Department numbers. Citywide, the homicide rate rose 23 percent last year, with the largest increases in homicides coming at the end of the year.

Obviously, the Katrina criminals aren't functioning in a vacuum; they've run smack into Houston's own merry men (and women) of the underworld. Unfortunately, all the rational discussion in the world about what percentage of evacuees are actually involved in this mayhem will do little to blunt public perceptions of evacuees as a whole.

Very, very bad situation.

Update: January's numbers to date indicate a 50% increase in homicides.


  • At 11:00 AM, Blogger E.M. said;

    Good point, but what do we do to curb the crime? When do you think there will be a change in all of this?

  • At 2:04 PM, Blogger Polimom said;

    e. -

    Wow. Only two questions, but each worth ten million dollars.

    I've been agonizing over the first one for weeks, cuz in many ways, the crime in NOLA is what led to so many other problems. And like everything else, the crime was tied up in a series of chicken:egg conundrums... But for today, and the immediate future, New Orleans has an unprecedented opportunity to "own" its neighborhoods, because the people who are there know each other, block by block.

    As a community-based effort, simple refusal to just turn the blind eye, or taking conversations beyond the front porch about specific drug trafficking (etc.) while the police have the ability - the space to be proactive, might slow resurgence. Now. While crime is low.

    I like the Guardian Angels, not as a specific group, but as a concept. It isn't about vigilante-ism, but vastly heightened awareness combined with a desire to shut it down at the micro-level.

    Beyond those approaches, though, the solutions are elusive. Throwing money at an entrenched crime problem doesn't make it go away. Once the cycle has started for an individual, or a neighborhood (or a city), it is like a cancer.

    When will there be a change in all of this? sigh... I wish I even had the smallest clue.

  • At 4:40 PM, Blogger E.M. said;

    You know, I would like to chat more about this 'ownership' of neighborhoods that you talk about since I'm here in nola.

    In the meantime, I have some more questions...

    I saw in a Hou. chron. article that said the police were training leasing/apt. complex managers to be able to somehow help this situation. That is, educating them on their clients. And I thought - What? How are they going to help? Isn't it too late for that area? -

    And I just wonder. I wonder what the resolution is. Is it just more cops? And I also wonder why there were clusters of this going on in New Orleans, and now, there are clusters of violence going on in Houston. (I don't mean to suggest this is new there - it isn't).

    It does seem, however, there is a correlating behavior between the 2 cities.

    Is it as simple as gang activity? Or is it more of a tradition? You know, people simply used to getting rid of each other with the gun?

    Is it so very chicken and the egg. Sigh.

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