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'Haven't really seen it this bad' | HPD Chief Troy Finner on violent crime during his first year

In his first year as police chief, Houston homicides jumped 18% but overall violent crime went down 5%, Finner said.

HOUSTON — It's been a dangerous 12 months for citizens and law enforcement in Houston.

One person that knows that all too well is Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner. 

Last year, during his first week on the job, he told KHOU 11 his first priority would be going after violent individuals. 

One year on the job, and the chief has rushed from one violent crime scene to another. 

KHOU 11 anchor Len Cannon asked, "Any given day, officers shot, child shot, people followed from the bank, restaurant, retail. Have you ever seen it like this?" 

"This is in 32 years, haven't really seen it this bad," replied Chief Finner. "It's frustrating, but just because it's frustrating, we can't stop.

You can watch the entire interview between KHOU's Len Cannon and Chief Finner from Tuesday below:

And this is video from Chief Finner's March 2021 interview with Len Cannon, shortly after he started as HPD police chief. 

It all sounds frightening, but Chief Finner said the sky isn't falling.

In 2021, Houston homicides jumped 18% but he said overall violent crime was down 5% and property crimes were down 3%. Still, he knows unspeakable acts, like the murder of a child, drives perception. 

"These violent minds and dirty hearts, we got to act on them. Doing everything we can to make sure we lock them up," Finner said. 

RELATED: Mayor Turner and HPD announce initiative to combat violent crime

The chief puts part of the blame on bail bonds systems and a lack of space in the Harris County Jail.

"We have to be more intentional in opening up more capacity at the county jail, and I'm not going to back down from that just for the worst of the worst," Finner said. 

Finner is a proud Houstonian and Madison High school graduate. 

RELATED: HPD Chief lays out violent crime strategy, progress on police reform

He believes the 5,100 men and women on the force will help turn things around. 

"Look, I think I am the person that got called at this time and I never back down from a challenge, and it's a hell of a challenge. But I will keep moving forward with my agency," said Finner. 

Tuesday, Harris County commissioners approved $7.5 million to hire more prosecutors to help clear a backlog of criminal cases. 

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