Crime in Texas’ Four Major Cities

Texas holds 4 of the top 11 populated cities in America, and with high populations comes high crime rates.

Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin are the 4 largest cities in the state of Texas respectively, and all hold significantly high crime rates. Each city holds almost over 1 million inhabitants each, and Houston being the biggest is populated by over 2 million. I believe the reason for these high crime rates has to do with the income rates in each city.

In this blog, I will be comparing and contrasting crime rates to the income of household to see if there is any correlation between high or low income and higher or lower crime rates in each major city.

Per Capita Income by County in Texas

cb11cn37_tx_totalpop_2010map

You can see in the maps below how the income and population surrounding these four major cities is the highest in the state. The map on the right displays the per capita income by county, and you can see that where these cities are located seems to be the highest income. Same goes for the map on the right; that map displays the last census done in the United States in 2010. Although several years have passed, the information remains the same, just with slightly larger numbers.

The regions with the highest populations are also the regions with the highest incomes. I will be doing more research on crime rates in these cities to see if higher income and correlate with the rate of crimes.

Written by Brenda Tamez

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Crime Rates in Texas Outline

My first data visualization will show information regarding all Texas counties in ascending order based on their crime rates over a span five years, 2010-2015. It will show each of the counties average crime rate associated with the specific year. The visualization will illuminate a consistent pattern in the prevalence of crime attributed to specific counties over the course of five years. I will be emphasizing counties, such as Kennedy County, which have consistently high crime rates compared to other counties. The questions that I will answer with the data provided in the visual are as follows:

  1. Over the span of five years which county has the highest crime rate?
  2. What specific year had the highest overall crime rate?
  3. Which counties, if any, had a significant fluctuation in crime rate from one year to another?

Furthermore, my data will show the average property crime rates per Texas county over the span of five years. For this data, the following are categories that fall under “Property Crimes,” burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson. I will emphasize certain counties with the highest property crime rates, such as Loving County and how it compares to others that have low rates, like Dallas County. My data will show if there is a correlation between counties with high violent crime rates and counties with high property crime rates. I will be emphasizing the correlations, if any, of those certain counties. This data visualization will answer the following:

  1. Which county has the highest property crime rate over the five years?
  2. What specific year had the highest property crime rate?
  3. Is there a correlation between the counties with high violent crime rates and the counties with high property crime rates?

In addition, I will show two visualizations that represent the highest violent crime overall, which is rape, and the highest property crime overall, which is larceny. Rape data for “Forcible Rape” was collected under “Rape Legacy” until it was revised in the year 2013 to include more offenses as well as male victims within the Summary Reporting System.  For this visualization I have combined the “Rape Legacy” category as well as the “Rape Revised” category to get the total average of rape per county per year

These two visualizations will show which region in Texas has the highest of the two separate crimes. I will discuss how the two different crime rates play a roll in the total crime rate of the county as well as Texas itself. These two visualizations will answer the following:

  1. Which county has the highest rape rate?
  2. Which county has the highest larceny rate?
  3. How do the counties with the highest two crime rates tie into the total average of Texas’ crime rates?

In conclusion I will show the nine counties of the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area and their population size. This visualization is to show how the nine counties make up for a fairly decent amount of the Texas population in total. I will be discussing how the counties population size may or may not play a part in the high/low amount of crime the county has. Following this visualization I will show the nine counties and their violent crime rates per year per county. After, I will give one last visualization that included the nine counties’ property crime rates per year per county. These two visualizations are to show how this specific metropolitan area’s crime rates have tied in to the total amount of crime in Texas. All three of the visuals will show how the role, that the crime in Houston has taken in Texas’ total amount of violent and property crimes over the years. Along with that I will be emphasizing the fluctuation, if any, of Houston crimes over the years. For example, there is some fluctuation with how Harris County jumped up in average violent crime rates from the year 2012-2013. These three visualizations will answer the following questions:

  1. How does Houston and its surrounding counties population affect the total Texas population?
  2. How big of a part does Houston and its surrounding counties have in the total violent crime rate and property crime rate in Texas?
  3. Have Houston’s crime rates increased or decreased more over the years? If so, how much did it effect Texas’ total crime rates?

This will be the set order of my seven data visualizations. I chose this order because it creates a nice flow starting from the big picture and the breakdowns that help make it whole. Starting with the main visualization of Texas counties and their crime rates over the years gives it a nice and broad start. As the visualizations are show in order they will continue to give different break downs of how just one county effects a state’s total crime rate. The visualizations in this order answer will be able to answer multiple different questions ranging from, the total crime rates throughout Texas, down to how a small county with a population of 29,563 can increase/decrease those rates.

Written By: Courtney Shook

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Mass Incarceration in Texas Outline

My first two data visualizations will provide information regarding the counties of Texas and how they ascend in order of high to low based on incarceration rates within Texas counties. I will emphasize that Harris county is the highest rated county in Texas, and I will discuss the crime description within Harris County, including the racial disparities (of Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks) that contribute to these crime descriptions of Harris county. I will compare the size of Harris county to the size of the remaining counties of Texas to show the significance of Harris County being the highest rated county for incarceration. The questions that I will answer with this data set/visualization will be

  1. which county has the largest incarceration rate in Texas?
  2. what are the racial disparities that occur within this county?
  3. is this the largest county in Texas?

Furthermore, my data will analyze the racial disparities among Texas counties and will compare the average rate of incarceration per racial group. My data will show that African Americans make up majority of the incarceration rates within Texas counties, doubling the amount of incarceration rates for Whites. Hispanics are the number two ethnic group that contribute to the racial disparities that prevail the Texas counties, among Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics. I will also discuss the gender disparities that exists per county and how those differences compare to the overall problem of mass incarceration in Texas. This set of data will answer the following:

  1. what are the rates per ethnic group for incarcerated individuals?
  2. how do these groups compare?
  3. what is the largest incarcerated ethnic group in all of Texas?

Then I will showcase crime rates per county, comparing the northern counties to the southern counties. I will discuss the demographics, population size, and the crime description per county. My data will show that there are counties within Texas that are hosts to a large population of Blacks; these counties experience higher crime rates than other counties within the same hemisphere of Texas. Southern counties that experience higher crime rates have a larger African American/Hispanic demographic, versus the northern counties of Texas that have a predominately White demographic. The northern counties experience less crime rates due to the population size, demographic, and geographical location. The southern counties have larger population sizes, thus creating higher crime rates in the federal labeled crimes. This data set will further explain the racial disparities among incarcerated individuals and will also continue to present that African Americans are the leading racial group in mass incarceration within Texas. This will answer:

  1. how the racial disparities are affected per region throughout Texas?
  2. what is the significance of this regional split?
  3. geographically, how do demographics play into the problem of mass incarceration within Texas?

This is the order of my four sets of data visualizations; this will create a nice flow from small scale discussion to the whole picture of mass incarceration in Texas.

 

Written by: Somya Gupta

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Programs for the Incarcerated

Programs for the Incarcerated – for a better community for you.

Prison system programs offered to inmates are designed to prepare offenders returning into their communities or homes, a smooth transition with a low to none rearrest rate.

They prepare the inmates and provide opportunities to participate in improving their skills, develop better educational habits, and even parenting classes. Various Correctional facilities provide their inmates with these programs to ensure a safer community in the long run.

Many programs include a multi-step phasing system that is focused on the inmates’ transition into the outside world:

Phase 1 – typically a preparation course in which the facility provides them with educational classes, literacy classes, classes that develop work and social skills, parenting classes, and mental health/substance use classes.

Phase 2 –  a 12-24 month program that aids the released convict in functioning in society.

Former inmates and participants of these programs who have managed to stay out of prison beyond 2 years after release, have a lower chance of rearrest compared to those who do not participate in the provided programs at all.

The Bureau of Justice provides statistics in their Recidivism Study, that show inmates who have stayed out of jail longer and have yearly follow ups with the social programs provided by the correctional facilities, were less likely to be rearrested. data

Once out of prison, these individuals are consistently offered vocational developmental programs as well as mentoring and social service assistance outside the prison. If you refer to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Directory of National Programs Guide, you can inform yourself on all the programs offered in National Prison systems.

In addition, the offense type has various effects on the rearrest rates of former convicts, and so facilities are providing programs based around the range of offense types that have shown to have the highest rate of recidivism—property offense being the highest return rate of former inmates. The congressional Research Services provide us with information stating that the more violent or offensive a crime is, the less likely the released convict will be rearrested as the years progress. The programs are focused on maintaining the rate at which inmates are released on parole versus probation and the programs are designed to monitor such offenders in a certain way to reassure that the rate of prisoners being released are released on the basis that they are suitable for properly contributing to society. data-2

Funding for such programs is necessary in rehabilitating an entire community and to aid individuals in making a better and stronger society. Please refer to the link provided to see the numbers of pre-released inmates and work program inmates in comparison to average prison unit numbers — to see that with proper funding and support, these work programs and pre-released numbers per prison unit can exceed those of the Correctional facilities that are not providing such rehabilitation programs for their inmates upon release. Prisoners per Prison Unit

Written by: Somya Gupta, UH

 

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Kidnapping in Texas

Every year, 800,000 missing children and approximately 2,000 children every day, are reported to local law enforcement agencies and the FBI. Abducting children is becoming more and more of an everyday thing for people of all ages and happens all over the world. Children can be kidnapped anywhere and be gone in the blink of an eye. The number of inmates that are in serving time for aggravated kidnapping in Texas Prisons are only getting higher. According to The Texas Tribune the information below are based on National Crime Information Center (NCIC) data submitted by Texas Department of Criminal Justice staff.screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-3-36-32-pm

The reality of children getting abducted is a lot of times nowhere near what is seen on shows like Law and Order: SVU. Sometimes children are not really abducted but instead are just run aways. KidsHealth, by Nemours gives a couple of points about the realities of kidnapping.

  • Most kids who are reported missing have run away or there has been a misunderstanding with their parents about where they were supposed to be.
  • Of the kids and teens who are truly abducted, most are taken by a family member or an acquaintance; 25% of kids are taken by strangers.
  • Almost all kids kidnapped by strangers are taken by men, and about two thirds of stranger abductions involve female children.
  • Most abducted kids are in their teens.
  • Kids are rarely abducted from school grounds.

According to the law enforcement component of the Third National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART–3), sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention the points below are some of the characteristics of stereotypical kidnapping in the year of 2011.

  • An estimated 105 children were victims of stereotypical kidnappings in 2011, virtually the same as the 1997 estimate. Most kidnappings involved the use of force or threats, and about three in five victims were sexually assaulted, abused, or exploited.
  • Victims were, most commonly, ages 12 to 17, girls, white, and living in situations other than with two biological or adoptive parents. Half of all stereotypical kidnappings in 2011 were sexually motivated crimes against adolescent girls.
  • Most perpetrators of 2011 stereotypical kidnappings were male, were ages 18 to 35, and were white or black in equal proportions. About 70 percent were unemployed, and roughly half had problems with drugs or alcohol.
  • Fewer stereotypical kidnappings ended in homicide in 2011 than in 1997 (8 percent versus 40 percent). Most kidnappers were not violent at first contact with victims; instead, they lured almost 70 percent of victims through deception or nonthreatening pretexts. Kidnappings involving 92 percent of child victims in 2011 ended in recovering the child alive, compared with 57 percent of victims in 1997.
  • 2011 estimates of child victims being detained overnight were three times the 1997 estimates (80 percent versus 26 percent).
  • Technologies, such as cell phones and the Internet, helped law enforcement to solve crimes involving two-thirds of the victims.

The Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART–2) conducted a twelve month study on non family abductions and the results are shown through the table below. The concentrated study year is 1999.

An estimated 57% of all child victims of nonfamily abduction were missing from their caretakers during the year of 1999. 21% of non family abductions were reported as missing.  78% of total victims of stereotypical kidnappings were reported missing during the study year.  Table 1 gives a detailed estimate of non family abducted children.

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-2-52-45-pm

There are many ways to try and prevent kidnapping though. One major thing is for adults/parents to talk with their children about strangers and their surroundings. KidsHealth by Numours gives these tips to help prevent kidnapping.

  • Make sure custody documents are in order.
  • Have ID-like photos taken of your kids every 6 months and have them fingerprinted. Many local police departments sponsor fingerprinting programs.
  • Keep your kids’ medical and dental records up to date.
  • Make online safety a priority. The Internet is a great tool, but it’s also a place for predators to stalk kids. Be aware of your kids’ Internet activities and chat room “friends,” and remind them never to give out personal information. Avoid posting identifying information or photos of your kids online.
  • Set boundaries about the places your kids go. Supervise them in places like malls, movie theaters, parks, public bathrooms, or while fundraising door to door.
  • Never leave kids alone in a car or stroller, even for a minute.
  • Choose caregivers — babysitters, childcare providers, and nannies — carefully and check their references. If you’ve arranged for someone to pick up your kids from school or day care, discuss the arrangements beforehand with your kids and with the school or childcare center.
  • Avoid dressing your kids in clothing with their names on it — children tend to trust adults who know their names.

By Courtney Shook

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Programs for the Incarcerated

Programs for the Incarcerated – for a better community for you.

Prison system programs offered to inmates are designed to prepare offenders returning into their communities or homes, a smooth transition with a low to none rearrest rate.

They prepare the inmates and provide opportunities to participate in improving their skills, develop better educational habits, and even parenting classes. Various Correctional facilities provide their inmates with these programs to ensure a safer community in the long run.

Many programs include a multi-step phasing system that is focused on the inmates’ transition into the outside world:

Phase 1 – typically a preparation course in which the facility provides them with educational classes, literacy classes, classes that develop work and social skills, parenting classes, and mental health/substance use classes.

Phase 2 –  a 12-24 month program that aids the released convict in functioning in society.

Former inmates and participants of these programs who have managed to stay out of prison beyond 2 years after release, have a lower chance of rearrest compared to those who do not participate in the provided programs at all.

The Bureau of Justice provides statistics in their Recidivism Study, that show inmates who have stayed out of jail longer and have yearly follow ups with the social programs provided by the correctional facilities, were less likely to be rearrested. data

Once out of prison, these individuals are consistently offered vocational developmental programs as well as mentoring and social service assistance outside the prison. If you refer to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Directory of National Programs Guide, you can inform yourself on all the programs offered in National Prison systems.

In addition, the offense type has various effects on the rearrest rates of former convicts, and so facilities are providing programs based around the range of offense types that have shown to have the highest rate of recidivism—property offense being the highest return rate of former inmates. The congressional Research Services provide us with information stating that the more violent or offensive a crime is, the less likely the released convict will be rearrested as the years progress. The programs are focused on maintaining the rate at which inmates are released on parole versus probation and the programs are designed to monitor such offenders in a certain way to reassure that the rate of prisoners being released are released on the basis that they are suitable for properly contributing to society. data-2

Funding for such programs is necessary in rehabilitating an entire community and to aid individuals in making a better and stronger society. Please refer to the link provided to see the numbers of pre-released inmates and work program inmates in comparison to average prison unit numbers — to see that with proper funding and support, these work programs and pre-released numbers per prison unit can exceed those of the Correctional facilities that are not providing such rehabilitation programs for their inmates upon release. Prisoners per Prison Unit

Written by: Somya Gupta, UH

 

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Super Bowl referred to as ‘largest human trafficking event’

This Super Bowl is taking place this weekend and many tourists will be flocking to Houston to see what the city has to offer. Despite the financial gain the event brings in, many victim advocates are calling it the largest human trafficking event of the year. These statistics show how Houston compares to other US states.

images

You may have noticed an increased display of anti-human trafficking messages on billboards, buses, taxis, etc. throughout Houston.

billboard-anti-trafficking-i-45

These advertisements serve as an important reminder that human trafficking is prevalent in our city and that we should take the time to learn about the signs of human trafficking.

Common Work Related Living Conditions

  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
  • Is under 18, in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp
  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. boarded up windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior

  • Avoids eye contact
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Is depressed, submissive, tense, nervous or paranoid
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

Race

 

  • Racial discrimination is is rarely discussed in open forums about human trafficking . Does race and ethnicity contribute to the likelihood of people becoming victims of trafficking? Yes.  I believe that not only does race and ethnicity constitute a risk factor for trafficking, it may also determine the treatment those victims’ experience.

Poor Physical Health

  • Loss of sense of time
  • Lacks health care
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Appears malnourished

If you believe you have identified a potential trafficking situation, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) on 1-888-373-7888, send a text to Polaris at BeFree (233733) or submit an anonymous tip on the NHTRC website. If you have reason to believe a person is in immediate danger you should contact authorities immediately.

Written By: Savannah Martens, UH

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