Ben Hall Goes After Mayor Parker On Houston's Crime Rates

The November election is less than two months away and Ben Hall's campaign to unseat Mayor Annise Parker is starting to gear up. Today the former city attorney issued a five-point plan to address crime.

In the parking lot of a Denny's on Washington Avenue at I-10, Ben Hall challenged the mayor's record on crime.

Two weeks ago, a customer was shot and killed inside the Denny's during an armed robbery.

Hall says Mayor Parker has been less than forthcoming on the issue of crime by using a three-year average of crime numbers to make it appear the crime rate is improving.

"Crime and violent crimes in terms of murders and robberies and theft have gone up between 2011 and 2012. These are unacceptable numbers. So that's why I will no longer remain silent on this important issue as a mayoral candidate."

Hall's five-point plan includes installing more surveillance cameras around the city, especially in crime-ridden neighborhoods.

He also wants to create a community service program for non-violent criminals to pay off their sentences and expand job programs for first-time offenders.

Sue Davis is the spokesperson for Mayor Parker's campaign. She says the mayor has already implemented most of the ideas listed in Hall's plan.

"We have surveillance cameras up. Creating jobs for first time offenders? The city has a program. Upgrade police radios to improve communication with other law enforcement officers? Mayor Parker has implemented the city's new public safety radio project, which is improving the city's capability to communicate with Harris County and other jurisdictions."

Houston's murder rate is the lowest it has been since the 1960s, but the city does have the highest number of burglaries in the nation.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...