The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
The FBI is confirming that violent crime is on the rise nationwide, after falling for many years. And it’s increasing at a faster rate in Texas than in the country as a whole. In 2016, the rate of violent crime rose 3.2 percent nationwide, while it jumped 5.3 percent in Texas.
Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider takes a look at local numbers.
In its latest report on Crime in the United States, the FBI says that the violent crime rate in Houston increased by more than 6 percent in 2016 compared to 2015. That’s nearly double the pace at which violent crime rose nationwide over the same period. Rape and aggravated assault accounted for much of the increase in Houston.
With 301 homicides last year, the city’s homicide rate dipped slightly compared to the year before, even as the nationwide pace rose. Compared to 2014, though, Houston’s homicide rate jumped by more than 18 percent. That’s only slightly slower than the national rate over the same period.
The Governor’s Office is announcing the establishment of a new Crimes Against Children Unit.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s office will receive 260,000 from the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division to form a unit specializing in handling trafficking and sex crimes involving juvenile victims. Prosecutors will also work with local law enforcement, school districts and other agencies on approaches targeting sexual exploitation. The new unit will focus on prosecuting traffickers and those who purchase sex from children. The plan also includes improving communication with and support for victims.
Starting this week, 100 psychologists across Texas will be offering free counseling sessions to people affected by Hurricane Harvey.
The Texas Psychological Association, or TPA, organized the pro bono effort.
Rebecca Hamlin, co-chair of the TPA’s disaster response team says there could be concerns or fears someone is more comfortable sharing with a therapist than their family.
“What if you have, for instance, a single mom. Who is she going to share her thoughts with? Her children? Unlikely. But she may have some of her own fears and self-doubt about the future that she really needs someone to help her get that organized,” she says.
Harvey survivors can receive up to three free counseling sessions either in-person or remotely via phone, FaceTime, or Skype. People can sign up at texaspsyc.org.