But police, numbers tell a different story
A new poll by Gallup puts Houston on the list of least safe U.S. cities, but according to officials, and some of the 2013 statistics, it really depends on where you are.
The experts say the suburbs like Katy are safer than the city. But only 63% of Houstonians polled said they felt safe walking around their neighborhood at night. That compares to 77% in Austin. All D. Freeman, a political activist and actor, says he doesn't feel safe in the Sunnyside area he's from.
“I know the guys. I know the hood. I know the thugs. But I don’t feel safe because I could get hit by a stray bullet,” freeman told KTRH
Former State Representative Ron Wilson says the numbers might say something different but for many, perception is reality.
“If you live in these difficult areas you can’t help but feel that you’re a victim of crime,” Wilson said.
Freeman said there are times he thinks city officials aren't doing enough.
“Absolutely not. It’s not even on their agenda to make the neighborhoods safer. They aren’t doing anything,” Freeman explained.
Wilson said the people in the suburbs aren’t feeling the same things that people in other areas of the city do.
“They see horrible things happening to them. It happens if you’re in Sunnyside and other areas. You feel crime,” Wilson stated.
HPD responded to the poll with a statement, “The City of Houston is one of the safest cities in the nation and while there are challenges to keeping a city of this size safe, it is not a challenge that is beyond the capacity of the Houston Police Department. Crime can happen at any place in the city and that is why we ask all Houstonians to remain vigilant, report any suspicious activity and do their part to help.”
That said, while the overall crime rate was down in 2012, the number of murders did jump from 198 in 2011 to 217 last year. The city has had 49 murders through the first three months of 2013. If the current pace holds, the year will end with 196 murders.