More than 29,000 were reported in Houston last year in 2007, an 8 percent increase from the year before. The Houston Chronicle says that though such crimes rarely make the news or draw the public outrage that accompanies homicides and carjackings, they have the potential to become just as dangerous. That was evident last week when a 74-year-old ranch owner was seriously wounded by gunfire after surprising two intruders inside his Houston home.
Experts don’t know why Houston’s annual burglary numbers jumped up, even as the city’s homicides, rapes and car thefts declined. Larry Hoover, a professor at Sam Houston State University’s College of Criminal Justice, said, ‘Alarmists see this as a precursor to a new surge in crime Others see it as random variation – that we’ve driven crime to historical lows, and you’re going to see spots of increase.” Experts agree that drug use is largely to blame for break-ins as addicts seek quick cash for a fix. As the federal government has lost ground in the war on drugs, supply has increased and drug use has gone up, spurring a rise in property crimes. Burglars are drug addicts – “most are stealing to support their addiction,” said Hoover.