The judicial and district attorney soft on crime aspects in Harris County has received significant coverage, but one aspect that hasn’t been covered is the effort by democrat elected officials to weaken law enforcement in Harris County. While the effort’s pieces were all in the open, the cumulative effect didn’t sink in until reflecting on the information learned when Joe Danna and Ted Heap were kind enough to come in for an interview. When viewing the current elected Democrats’ behavior through the lens of information learned in those interviews the picture seems much more ominous.
Extent of the crime problem
While various entities may report on the crime rate this number is skewed by the district attorney’s office willingness to accept a case. A different metric to use to judge the amount of reported crime is the crime incidence number. It is a measurement of the number of times a person has called to report a crime and a law enforcement response followed. This metric does not consider if the district attorney’s office accepts the charge or the number of counts involved.
Houston Police Department has published this metric for January – August 2020, and for comparison purposes the same month range for 2019 is given in the chart below. What’s striking in the chart is every month in 2020 shows a year over year increase from 2019. While the official crime statistics may show a decline in criminal activity if we look at the incident report we see that crime reports are consistently up. This shows that the public is reporting more crime and that the lower crime statistics are the result of cases not being referred to or accepted by the district attorney’s office. A better way to say this is to say criminal prosecution is down, but criminal activity has increased.
The effort to weaken law enforcement
The democrats appear to be actively involved with an effort to weaken law enforcement. Whether or not this is a coordinated effort is immaterial – the effort is pervasive and will result in a further escalation of criminal activity. Here are a few highlights, and the next section will explain why these efforts are detrimental to combating crime.
Right now Harris County Sherriff’s Office has funding and approval for an additional 101 positions. Ed Gonzalez could have filled these positions at any time, but has made a deliberate decision not to fill the positions. Adrian Garcia suggested an effort to end the constable contract program in favor of the sheriff contract program. Rodney Ellis has called bringing attention to the consequences of the weak on crime criminal judges and bail issues fear mongering.
Consequences of Democrat Elected Officials Plans
The consequences of the three examples given above are/would be devastating for curtailing crime in Harris County. Ed Gonzalez’ refusal to fill 101 positions is self evident in how it is criminal friendly and prevents law enforcement intervention in criminal matters. Not facially evident is the effect from the other two examples.
It is the constables rather than Houston Police Department that investigate property crime. With the constables reporting statistics to HPD and HCSO their involvement is not readily apparent as it appears commingled with HPD and HCSO statistical reports. If the constable contract program is ended in favor of the sheriff contract program it will end the already established community ties that have developed between the community and the constables. Even if every contract were successfully migrated to HCSO this would create reporting issues since the constables report, as appropriate, to HPD and HSCO.
The switching from constable to HCSO contracts would create the false appearance of a drop in crime in Houston because of the technical aspects of the way the reporting is compiled. Plus, the transition from constable to HCSO has the inherent risk of inability to service the contracts and risk of contract nonrenewal since it is a new entity that is performing the duties of the contract program. In short, less law enforcement investigation would occur, especially with property crime, and criminals would have even less reason to fear committing these crimes.
More sinister is Rodney Ellis’ comments that exposing the problems associated with bail reform is fear mongering. Right now the suit that Commissioner’s Court is involved with settling is misdemeanor bail reform. Felony bail reform will be addressed next, and a reasonable inference from Ellis’ comments is that he will be actively advocating for criminal friendly bail provisions in the settlement for the felony bail reform. Remember, if this is the result of litigation and an agreed judgment then we are stuck with the consequences. A future Commissioner’s Court would not be able to change operating procedures since there will be a legal judgment in place.
We have a stark choice in the election
The election is a stark choice between reigning in crime and the continued slide into lawlessness in Harris County. It’s imperative that Ramsey win election for Commissioner’s Court so we have an active voice to combat Ellis and Garcia and expose the process to sunlight. It’s also extremely important that Joe Danna be elected as Sheriff so that the office can be fully staffed and be actively involved in combating crime. That’s not enough to protect the public. It’s also important Mary Nan Huffman be elected so that we have a district attorney who will actually prosecute crimes. Voting republican for Commissioner’s Court, Sheriff and District Attorney are necessary to start the process of reigning in criminal behavior in Harris County.