Violent crimes including murder, rape and robbery are down in Houston during the first four months of the year, but burglaries and theft continue to increase despite a citywide public awareness campaign in March by Houston police, reports the Houston Chronicle. Murder dropped 11.6 percent, rape 11.7 percent, and both robbery and aggravated assaults dipped 7.4 percent from January through April of this year compared with the same period last year. However, burglary was up 5.4 percent and theft 2.4 percent, while auto theft dropped 10.4 percent during the first four months of 2010.
The uptick in burglaries concerns newly appointed Police Chief Charles McClelland, who is considering setting up a unit to collect DNA at burglary scenes and other property crimes. McClelland focused the department’s annual “March on Crime” initiative on reducing residential and automotive burglaries, and sent HPD officers across the city to deliver crime prevention strategies to neighborhood groups and in shopping centers. Last month, 2,373 burglaries were reported in Houston, compared with 2,216 in April 2009. McClelland has noted the department has made a coordinated effort to reduce the long-standing problem of robbers preying on Hispanic laborers, many of whom carry large amounts of cash.