Harris Co. DA says Houston is immersed in public safety crisis
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Harris County‘s chief law enforcement officer is delivering the hard, painful truth.
“We are outmanned. We are outgunned. The release of repeat violent offenders leads to exactly what you would think it would – more crime and this type of public policy should end,” said Kim Ogg, Harris County District Attorney.
Speaking to a room of expert number crunchers, Ogg unloaded alarming figures.
22,606 alleged crimes were committed by offenders released on bond by reform judges in 2021. At least 14,000 additional offenses are projected this year, all likely perpetrated by those who made bail.
“This far left concept of just not performing our duty, I don’t think serves the public correctly. Crime is not partisan, and it shouldn’t be dealt with by the extremes on either side, like it is,” said Ogg.
Then there is the issue of the Harris County Jail, packed with more than 8,800 defendants awaiting trial, most of them for violent offenses.
Ogg’s 350 exhausted prosecutors buried beneath a backlog of 130,000 criminal cases.
“You have got to maintain public safety, and right now we are struggling. Houston is in crisis,” said Ogg.
With many in his crime weary congregation fearful of even going to the grocery store, Pastor Willie Davis was among the earliest to raise the alarm. His assessment of local leadership in the years since is scathing.
“People are afraid. This is reality out here. Those people who are in office now are doing nothing. The county is doing nothing. The city is doing nothing. It’s just smoke and mirrors,” said Davis who pastors at the Palm Church.
Ogg says given the current backlog the families of murder victims will be forced to wait years for the case against an accused killer to come up for trial.
“The heartbreak has to end for crime victims. It is horrible enough to think about losing a loved one. It is insult to injury to be told it will take four years to try a case,” said Ogg.