HOUSTON — The City of Houston invited law enforcement agencies at multiple levels of government to a summit Wednesday to discuss the recent rise in crime rates, especially homicides, throughout the area.
HPD Chief Troy Finner led the discussion with representatives from local, state and federal law enforcement organization. In April, the newly appointed police chief laid out his plan for handling violent crime and advancing police reform.
Chief Finner says it’s just the first meeting, but says they’re going to use strong arm of a combined law enforcement team to fight crime.
The meeting among agencies was behind closed doors. Mayor Sylvester Turner says the issue needs a very holistic approach, saying they’ve been investing in overtime, having more cadet classes and using more technology.
But Mayor Turner says those things alone will not get the job done.
Chief Finner says officers are frustrated, but they’re focusing on intelligence, hot spots and the most violent suspects.
Murders are up 35 percent over last year with more than 200 victims already for 2021. On Tuesday, police released a video of a woman’s $5,000 purse being stolen right in front of her. Police believe the suspects followed her to the grocery store from the Galleria.
Chief Finner says it’s time for everyone to be vigilant and watch out for their surroundings. He urges making smart decisions and avoiding dangerous situations, “or going out at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, taking risks that you don’t have to be taking,” he said. “We’ve got to be smart as the community and help the police as well. But everybody needs to be vigilant.”
Chief Finner also spoke at length about the work that needs to be done putting violent criminals in jail and keeping them there.
He says he wants to get the courts moving, saying there are more than 1,500 murder cases that need to get pushed through.
He says they have been meeting with judges and they are trying to get cases moving but says everyone needs to work together and do their part.