The number of murders declined in Houston for the fifth consecutive year in 2010, and the number of homicides dropped in Harris County’s unincorporated areas, even as the population increased in both places, the Houston Chronicle reports. The latest numbers mirror a trend seen across the nation.
Houston’s police homicide division reported 267 people were murdered in Houston’s city limits in 2010 – a nearly 7 percent decline from the year before, when 287 were murdered. In the unincorporated areas of Harris County, preliminary statistics show 74 people were murdered in 2010, a 20 percent decline from the 93 people killed in 2009. Homicide Capt. David Gott attributed the decline in city murders partly to the work of the police department’s gang division and crime reduction unit, which involves saturating high-crime areas with police officers to crack down on criminal activity. “Murder is a random act of violence, and it’s very difficult to tell or judge what causes it to go up or go down,” Gott said. “Obviously, the fewer murders, the better – and it’s always good news when any crime number goes down, particularly when the number of murders goes down. It means the city is on the right track.”