Katrina Evacuees Involved In 21% Of Houston Murders


Hurricane Katrina sent a lot of bad guys to Texas, the Associated Press reports. Houston took in 150,000 evacuees, the most of any U.S. city. Houston police believe they are partly responsible for a nearly 17.5 percent increase in homicides so far this year over 2005. About 21 percent of Houston’s 232 homicides involved an evacuee as either a suspect or a victim. Police attribute much bloodshed to fights among rival New Orleans gang members. “New Orleans allowed a lot of these guys to stay on the street for whatever reason or be picked up and released after 60 days,” said Capt. Dale Brown, who oversees Houston’s homicide division. “Texas law, I don’t want to say it’s tougher, but we take these offenses very seriously.”

Judge Robert Eckels, chief executive of Harris County, which includes Houston, said Katrina evacuees arrested in the Houston have cost the county’s criminal justice system more than $18 million. “I think some saw (Katrina) as an opportunity,” said bounty hunter Michael Wright of evacuees who fled New Orleans with criminal records. “No one knows who they are over here.”

Link: http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ats-ap_us10aug15,0,4155568.story?coll=ny-leadnatio

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