Houston Police Chief Jim McNiell has released statistics from October that depict a significant increase in the number of cases city officers dealt with involving theft or stealing.
McNiell said there were more than 22 such cases, including 10 shoplifting cases (most of which involved the city’s largest retailer, Walmart) and nine cases involving other forms of theft, including three in which copper was swiped from commercial air conditioning units and four heists of aftermarket car stereo head units. Another three cases involved reports of residential burglary.
McNiell said 22 is more than double what a monthly total of similar cases might have been in the not too distant past.
“I really can’t explain the increase in stealing that’s going on in our community,” McNiell said, “but I think a lot of it has to do with times getting tighter and people are looking for ways to make money, like pushing things at pawn shops and so forth. I think some of it can also be attributed to people who have moved in to our community.
“We’ve been able to make several arrests that have helped; since one guy in particular has been in jail, some of our problems have ceased.”
The air conditioning thefts also resulted in property damage reports.
McNiell reminded local citizens to do whatever they can to prevent making a thief’s task easier.
“I encourage people to keep their vehicles locked and not leave things in plain view, and to keep their homes and businesses secure,” he said. “We’re stepping up patrols in certain areas and we’re aware of the types of thefts that going on, but it’s a matter of being there at the right time when thefts occur.”