KHOU-11’s Mark Greenblatt checked in tonight with an update on HPD’s underreporting of murders in recent years. Interestingly, the department has quietly reclassified some 16 incidents as murders since Greenblatt started reporting on the issue.
In some of the years in which murders were misreported, Houston — not Dallas — would have been the murder capital of Texas.
And what of Chief Hurtt’s (or Chief Hurtt’s ghostwriter’s) recent editorializing? Somewhat misleading, according to Greenblatt:
Recently, a guest editorial in the Houston Chronicle called on HPD to have an independent, comprehensive audit of its crime statistics conducted.
HPD Chief Harold Hurtt responded with his own guest editorial, claiming the FBI has checked out and approved HPD’s records from 2007.
The only problem? Out of more than 200 thousand incidents that took place in Houston during 2007, the feds looked at just 277 records.
Further, Hurtt claimed to the Chronicle the State had conducted its own audits of HPD as well, writing: “In fact, the Texas Department of Public Safety has conducted several audits within our Records Division (2001, 2002, 2004 and 2007).”
But the Defenders called DPS to check on that statement. DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange said: “We have not done an audit of their uniform crime reporting program since the year 2000.”
11 News: “So the audits you have done have absolutely nothing to do with crime statistics?
DPS: “That is correct.”
DPS spokeswoman Mange went on to say that the only time DPS has audited Houston crime statistics was back in 1995. A different Houston police chief requested the audit back then. Mange said DPS cannot begin an audit on its own- stressing that HPD would have to request an audit for the process to begin.
So, we can’t trust HPD’s murder reporting under MayorWhiteChiefHurtt, and it seems we can’t trust Chief Hurtt himself.
This further illustrates why we need the audit that Jay Wall and associates have suggested.
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