The following is a link to an article I wrote that appears in the Sunday Chronicle about burglary rates in Houston.
This article is a follow up on a report I sent many of you earlier that analyzed crime rates generally. This article highlights that over 29,000 burglaries were reported in 2007, an 8% increase from 2006. More disheartening, only 1,985 (7%) of these burglaries were solved.
Last Friday night I rode the evening shift with a HPD officer from the Westside Command Station. During the evening we answered two burglary calls. Meeting and visiting with the victims in these two cases, poignantly put faces on the dry statistics I have been studying.
In the first case, the victims lived in a quiet west side
neighborhood in a typical subdivision. The couple was in their early 50's with two sons in college. He works in technology and she as an administrative aide at a local school. They were obviously hard-working folks who valued their community, church and family.
The articles taken were predictable . . . a laptop, speakers, flat screen monitor, etc. But also taken was the wife's jewelry including a pendant from now deceased brother and a bracelet her husband gave her on their 25th anniversary. The thieves probably hocked these items for minimal value. They were, of course, invaluable to her.
The second victim was a young lady, probably in her early twenties living in an upscale, gated apartment complex. I guessed it was the first time she had ventured from her parents' home. Similar items were taken . . . laptop, television, jewelry.
The value of the items, while substantial, in no way describes the emotional impact on the victims. The loss of items with sentimental value, the sense of personal invasion, the anxiety for their personal safety and the loss of a sense of community - all these showed in their faces. As I watched the wife and the young woman wipe tears away from the corners of their eyes, it occurred to me that this happens to someone every 20 minutes in Houston. Little wonder that 95% of Houstonians in a recent poll said that crime was a serious problem which we must address.
Be part of the solution. Please click on the links below to visit each organization to learn how you can get involved.