Houston police cases suspended: Chief Troy Finner expands internal review, reports 264K investigations put on hold due to staffing


HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Days after airing his frustration over thousands of adult sex crime cases going unsolved due to staffing, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner revealed other divisions suspended tens of thousands more investigations for the same reason.

According to Finner, about 264,000 cases since 2016 were suspended with the “lack of personnel” coding department-wide. The total is 10% of the 2.8 million incidents filed with Houston police in the past eight years.

Art Acevedo was HPD’s chief from November 2016 through April 2021. He did not want to speak publicly about the findings.

About 100,000 of the 264,000 cases were property crimes, which means 164,000 were crimes against people, such as robbery and assault. Work on those was stopped with one check of a box.

“We got a problem, and this is one that we may not be able to climb out of, to be honest with you,” Douglas Griffith, Houston Police Officers’ Union president, said. “I feel for the victims in this and I hope over time, I hope we can get this resolved and bring back the trust the public deserves to have.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Significant number’ of sexual assault cases suspended due to HPD staffing, Chief Finner says

In a statement, Finner wrote, “We are also moving additional personnel to other investigative divisions to address these incident reports involving crimes against persons.”

Monday night, Mayor John Whitmire weighed in on the staggering statistic.

“I am very concerned. It is unacceptable, and I have instructed Chief Finner to be transparent and continue his review as a top priority. Public safety continues to be my highest priority,” Whitmire said in a statement.

The chief said more than 4,000 sexual assault cases were suspended due to personnel shortages during that same eight-year period.

Finner claimed the label was a code he first put a stop to in November 2021 but then recently discovered that it was still in use. He said he would answer questions at a yet-to-be-scheduled press conference.

ABC13’s Neighborhood Safety Tracker reports on robbery, auto theft, and burglary data dating back to 2019, which covers five of the eight years police cited in their internal review.

You can review crime statistics down to your area of Houston through the Safety Tracker here.

For more on this story, follow Jessica Willey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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