More than 20,000 burglary, assault and other cases were not investigated last year by Houston, Texas, police because of a lack of personnel, according to a report released June 2.
The findings recommend that at least 45 additional investigators be hired to address police staffing shortages. The boost in personnel also would improve police visibility while solving homicides and other violent crimes, the study says.
Police commanders who were surveyed said an “excessively high number of cases” with leads were not pursued. Problems in the department’s robbery division were described as “egregious,” the Houston Chronicle reported.
The findings of the $150,000 study were presented to a City Council committee. The report was conducted by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum and Larry Hoover, a professor of criminal justice at Sam Houston State University.
It notes that 15,000 burglaries and thefts, 3,000 assaults and nearly 3,000 hit-and-runs were not investigated last year.
Houston recorded the most burglaries of any of the nation’s 25 largest cities from 2004 to 2011. In 2011 alone, there were nearly 27,500 burglaries reported. Chicago was second with nearly 26,500.
Houston burglaries reached a peak of 29,279 in 2009, and have fallen each year since, with 2012′s total the lowest since 2003.