Harris County Homicides Increase in 2021 Amid Similar Trends Nationwide

Houston saw another increase in homicides in 2021, with police investigators having responded to 469 deaths of that nature in the city over 12 months.

The rate of deaths — about 20 per 100,000 people — accounts for Houston’s population boom over three decades, capping the year as one of the worst rates in three decades. A Chronicle review of homicide statistics shows that the rate remains well below the 1990 peak when 617 people were killed, resulting then in a rate of about 36 people per 100,000 people.

Criminal justice experts offered some perspective: Houston’s homicide rate is lower than what other U.S. cities are facing.

Dr. Howard Henderson (CJR founding director) says, “We still don’t know the impact of COVID-19 on violent crime and we still don’t understand the social impact of protesting on police reform — it’s going to take time." But to understand the crime in Houston, he said it’s wiser to examine what’s happening in neighborhoods, rather the city as a whole.
"Crime is a by-product of disadvantaged communities and not a cause."

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