Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said there has been a drop in crimes being reported in the Hispanic community because of deportation fears.
Acevedo claims new immigration policies under the Trump administration have had a local impact.
For example, the chief cited the following statistics from the Houston Police Department comparing January to March in 2016 and 2017:
- A 42.8 percent drop in rapes reported by Hispanics.
- An 8.2 percent increase in rapes reported by non-Hispanics
- A 13 percent drop in violent crime reported by Hispanics
Acevedo addressed his concerns in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon in hopes of calming calming any fears the community may have.
He insisted that HPD isn't in place to deport victims or witnesses to crime.
"We are not ICE agents we are not interested in being ice agents," said Acevedo. " And as we continue with the political debate in this nation, we need to be mindful that we are losing hearts and minds and when we lose the hearts and minds of 15 million people we all lose."
Hispanic community activists like Abraham Espinosa say the fear has only multiplied in recent months.
"When there's distrust, that only makes everyone less safe," Espinosa said.
Espinosa says HPD's data is troubling and he fears the number of Hispanics reporting crime will continue to drop.
"They've stopped coming forward," said Espinosa. "Obviously that doesn't mean that crimes like rape have just stopped in our community."
Espinosa says that Acevedo's proactive efforts to engage the Hispanic community do help, but he and other leaders are calling on Acevedo to hold town hall meetings with the Hispanic community and undocumented immigrants to address their concerns in person.
© 2017 KHOU-TV