New Orleans, you need to pay attention to what’s going on over in the Houston area. The ramifications of a “glad they’re there and not here”, laissez-faire approach to the future (in terms of crime) are going to hurt everybody.
Police chief ties Katrina evacuees to more killings
Katrina evacuees were the victims or suspects in 23 homicides between September and December, Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt said this morning, doubling the department’s earlier numbers on how many killings have been linked to people from Louisiana.
The 23 homicides account for nearly 20 percent of all homicides in the city during that period of time, according to Houston Police Department numbers. Citywide, the homicide rate rose 23 percent last year, with the largest increases in homicides coming at the end of the year.
Obviously, the Katrina criminals aren’t functioning in a vacuum; they’ve run smack into Houston’s own merry men (and women) of the underworld. Unfortunately, all the rational discussion in the world about what percentage of evacuees are actually involved in this mayhem will do little to blunt public perceptions of evacuees as a whole.
Very, very bad situation.
Update: January’s numbers to date indicate a 50% increase in homicides.