Violent crimes in Houston increased slightly in 2008 compared with 2007, but property crimes dropped more than 10 percent, the Houston Chronicle reports. Homicides dropped by 16 percent, but sexual assaults increased more than 8 percent. Aggravated assaults showed the largest increase in the violent crime category at 9.1 percent. Police officials said the increase in violent crime – less than 1 percent – may be attributed to the effects of Hurricane Ike as well as the faltering economy.
The increase in assault cases appears to be part of an uptick in domestic violence incidents; of the 1,092 additional aggravated assault cases in 2008, more than half were reports of domestic violence. “In a lot of the (domestic violence) cases, the victim will not assist in the prosecution and the prosecution does not go forward,” said Chief Harold Hurtt. Capt. Mark Eisenman of the police crime analysis section could not explain last year's spike in domestic violence cases. “We're certainly going to attack that issue in the coming year,” he said.