With two-and-a-half weeks still to go in 2018, Houston's murder count has already surpassed last year's total. Through November, HPD recorded 252 murders -- 12 more than 2017, or a five percent increase.
“That's a lot of people being murdered, but just from a pure statistic standpoint it really doesn't make Houston stand out as one of the nation's murder capitals,” says Jeff Asher, crime analyst in New Orleans.
By comparison, Chicago's total is more than double the Bayou City. Philadelphia so far has recorded more than 300 homicides this year. When it comes to murders per capita, New Orleans, Baltimore, St. Louis and Detroit still lead the nation.
“You don't want to sound like it's not some great tragedy and some acceptable level of violence, but when taking a step back and comparing statistically to other cities, it certainly is not at the top of list in terms of the worst in the country,” Asher says of Houston.
Houston's total number of murders is on par with recent years, with Asher noting Harvey may have impacted last year's figure.
“If you have a couple of weeks where there's really bad weather and the number of murders is deflated by the weather, not having that and also having a murder number that is similar certainly could be looked at as a positive.”