Crime alert: Kudos to Bellaire police, residents for drop in assaults, robberies, burglaries

At the end of every year, Bellaire releases its crime figures — the violent and property incidents that are voluntarily provided  to the FBI as part of its Uniform Crime Reporting system. Usually they range from mildly worrisome to troubling.

This year, though, the news is flat-out good.

While crime was up nearly 1 percent in 2017, most of the scariest things were down — way down. There were no murders in 2017, after two the year before. Assaults were down 42 percent, robberies dropped 9 percent, and home burglaries showed a whopping 64 percent decline.

The bad news: There were four sexual assaults in 2017 after no reports in 2016. And thefts increased by 35 percent, from 179 in 2016 to 242 in 2017.

Average response time held steady at 5 minutes.

Not surprisingly, the downturn comes in areas where the Bellaire PD is focusing. “We target robbery, burglaries and assaultive offenses in our efforts,” explained Police Chief Byron Holloway. “We consider crimes such as motor vehicle theft as serious, but I am more concerned with a crook breaking into your house.”

Beyond the UCR: Not surprisingly, with the West Loop and several major streets in their jurisdiction, Bellaire police responded to 9,621 traffic calls, the most in any category. But accidents were down from 769 in 2016 to 717 in 2017 — a decline of nearly 7 percent.

Chief Holloway is more than happy to share credit for the statistics: “I believe the reduction is based on two things — first an engaged community and second, an incredible workforce within the Bellaire Police Department.

“Citizens are making greater strides in securing their property and their homes.  We are approaching being 100 percent-staffing in the police department, and the folks who we have working for us are dedicated to our mission.”

—Charlotte Aguilar

Bellaire property owners are protecting themselves with surveillance systems, like the ones which caught these bad guys in the act. The police chief credits that kind of engagement, couple with a dedicated, nearly full police staff, with a downturn in serious crime in 2017. (Bellaire PD images)