Friday, February 17, 2006
Did Katrina evacuees bring more crime to Houston?
You won't find any public officials in Houston who will say, "Crime is up because of the Katrina evacuees." That's not smart politics. But you will find plenty of Houston residents who feel that way.

To tell the story of how the massive influx of evacuees has affected crime in Houston, we decided to visit the Fondren neighborhood in the southwest part of the city, because this is where many evacuees wound up settling.

The mainly working-class neighborhood, which consists mostly of low-rise apartment complexes, was plagued by crime long before Katrina evacuees arrived. But officers who work this beat say they've seen a significant spike in emergency calls since they got here. One officer told me, "Oh, we're a lot busier."

Across Houston, there have been a series of high-profile crimes involving Katrina evacuees. Houston police say evacuees have been victims or suspects in about 20 percent of the city's homicides, more than double their percentage in the population. This is leading to a feeling among some Houstonians that perhaps the evacuees are wearing out their welcome.
Posted By Ed Lavandera, CNN Correspondent: 10:47 AM ET
  66 Comments
Anytime you add more people to a city there's going to be more crime. I'm sure if it was Houston evacuees living in New Orleans the same would be true.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 11:02 AM ET
But I thought this was suppose to be a new beginning for them, you know, a good thing just like what Barbara Bush said. Please, I knew stories like this were going to come up right after the hurricane happened. Some folks just don't want to start over and are comfortable mooching off the goverment.
Posted By Anonymous Marilyn, New York : 11:03 AM ET
i agree with the people in texas, now matter how bad i feel for the people that lost their homes these people that have moved into georgia and other locations have made an effort to bring their past with them. however i am not saying that all people from new orleans are criminals because before this happened the crime rate in these areas was alredy very high and only getting higher. this is because of the fact that people have lost focus off their morals and of what is ethicaly right. we need to urge the people from that area to get back on their feet and stop relying fully on the government for monetary support and start supporting themselves by getting jobs. i think that when that happens then the crime rate will not increase as fast as it has been.
Posted By Anonymous Aaron Findley,18,Atlanta Georgia : 11:10 AM ET
Who didn't see this coming? No good deed goes unpunished. People excoriated Barbara Bush for alluding to fears that the Katrina evacuees may stay in Houston too long and that may be less than desirable for Houston.

I'm no fan of the Bushes but she wasn't totally off base. We just don't like to hear anything but warm fuzzies when it comes to the Katrina victims.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Martin, New York, New York : 11:11 AM ET
Why is it, when something like Katrina happens, the so called "host comunties" blame all of their crime and other social issues on the people who they offered help to? Get real, the issues in your communities were there way before this, you ignored them and now you have scapecoats to blame it on. I hope what has happened to them, never comes to your doorstep, but if it does, remember your words to the current victims. Shame on you!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Jeanne Landry, Cape Coral, Fl. : 11:47 AM ET
Its unfortunate that many of the Katring evacuees brought their problems with them. A leopard does not change its spots because it migrates to a different area. What is more unfortunate is that the folks who are trying to make a positive go of it are tainted as well. Not every evacuee is a criminal or poor or uneducated. I was in Houston immediately after the storm and most Houstonians were great to us. I new that the welcome mat would be pulled up eventually, so I made plans to get back to Louisiana. At least at home, we are all in the same boat.
Posted By Anonymous Rod, New Orleans, Louisiana : 11:53 AM ET
As a resident of Houston, we are all visualizing the disturbing affect Katrina has had on our city. We offerec asylum to those from New Orleans and we received more than we bargained for. The saddest part is the violence we are seeing in our schools. Is crime up? Yes. Does it appear there is a relationship? Yes. Does it make us leery of extending our hand in the future? Yes. Sad but true.
Posted By Anonymous Lynda, Houston, TX : 11:53 AM ET
Well, I live here, yes Houston. And we do feel the increase in our crime. When you wake up and almost everyday there is either another shooting, robbery, or apartment fire. It always has a evacuee angle to it. Granted, not all are bad - some our my neighbors and they are nice people. But, overall they are just having a huge problem with "fitting in". Part of me see's their issues, but overall Houston is not a welfare town. We all work hard and don't ask for much. I see hard working people from Mexico that never complain - and they are highly respected here. All we ask is - find a home, find a job (plenty around here) and get on with your life. Gangs and turf wars don't fly here. Also, Texans carry guns - they shoot back!
Posted By Anonymous Robert Wagner, Pearland Texas : 11:53 AM ET
Why do people expect Katrina evacuees to be any different from any other people? If you export a city's population you export its crime as well.
Posted By Anonymous Shloma Rosenberg, Mt. Clemens, MI : 11:53 AM ET
As a lifelong Louisiana and a greater lover of New Orleans, a place where I have lived and that I've had family and friends live, I've made it a point in the past to learn how the local culture operates on a daily basis both from observation and direct experience. Louisiana has forever had their own unique code of conduct and New Orleans probably more than any other section of LA culture, ie Cajuns, etc. In the lower income sections of New Orleans, this code of conduct was part of day-to-day survival and a communal understanding. Those people we saw stuck in NO after Katrina, my brother included, did not want to leave, did now want to leave behind their way of life that was ingrained for generations. Now that a lot of people are finding themselves in new urban environments with more modern codes of behavior, it's natural that you will find a "falling out", misunderstanding and conflict. The poor of New Orleans felt rich in their neighborhoods, and they were. There was a rich culture, powerful individuals from block to block, a group of people who were rooted to their homes generations back. This integration into new environments will not be easy on either side...for the newbies on the block and for those who established their place within the city they've been living for awhile. I hope everyday for a new understanding to evolve where people can allow their compassion to override their resistance to change.
Posted By Anonymous Mary Meaux, Hammond, Louisiana : 11:56 AM ET
The situation is a lot worse than reported with rival gangs from Louisiana claiming their own territories and brining the violence into the schools. There has been no way to track the background of the new students or in many cases to confirm whether they have criminal backgrounds and should not have been admittedinto the school systems in the first place.
Posted By Anonymous W. Stuart, Sugar land, TX : 11:56 AM ET
Well of course there will be more crime. N.O was a very poor, crime ridden city to begin with. Increased crime has been evident in every place the evacuees have relocated...
Posted By Anonymous JP. Atlanta, GA. : 11:57 AM ET
This also happened in Phoenix. The neighborhoods around the shelters for Katrina victims experienced a rise in crime, specifically drug related crimes. As usual, these stories did not make the local press.
Posted By Anonymous Paul S. Phoenix, AZ : 11:57 AM ET
As poulation increases crime increases, simple fact. To put all the blame on Katrina evacuees would be ridiculous. Does anyone besides myself think that the reason crime has rissen is because the criminals in Houston now have more people to terrorize.
Posted By Anonymous Heath Sangster Corpus Christi, Texas : 11:57 AM ET
I am thankful that Houston has taken us in, but I am upset that recently many of the crimes mentioned on the news pertainin mainly to Katrina evacuees. As an evacuee I contribute to the economy just as I did in New Orleans,but I guess that is not worth talking about. Can we have a story on those of us who picking up the peices inspite of prejudgement by the city of Houston. Houston had crime long before we came; it is sad but the criminals of LA have met the criminals of TX. Hopefully we will find some common ground and realize that we will have to live together, so lets do it in peace.
Posted By Anonymous sherrell, missouri city, tx : 11:58 AM ET
I saw this coming. I'm from New Orleans but moved from there many years ago because of the crime infestation, and it only got worse since then. All of these cities that were eager to take in Katrina evacuees knew about the crime problem in New Orleans, but I guess they thought it would dissipate at New Orleanians were scattered across the country. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Crime begins as a social problem but then becomes a cultural problem. You can't teach old dogs new tricks, even if you give them a new doghouse.
Posted By Anonymous Tommy McGlothlin, Tupelo, Mississippi : 11:59 AM ET
I am a Houston resident and I have seen the crime rate rise. The nightly news is ridden with stories of Katrina evacuees committing some crime. The crime rate in New Orleans was high but it all makes sense that those criminals moving here would cause trouble too. I agree that no official would dare say this but it is definitely true. I am sure that there are many good, law-abiding N.O. citizens that came here to start over, it's just that they don't get any news coverage.
Posted By Anonymous Alia Parker, Houston, TX : 11:59 AM ET
We're seeing the same thing in Dallas too. To think this wasn't going to happen was foolish and naive. New Orleans was notorious for their crime rate and corrupt police force before Katrina. All that's happened now is that those problems and the criminal nature that is part of life in New Oleans has now been dispersed to other cities.
Posted By Anonymous Annette, Dallas, TX : 11:59 AM ET
I don't know why anyone should be surprised at this. Many (not all) of the Katrina evacuees depended on the government to take care of them in New Orleans. They're still unwilling to get jobs and take care of themselves. Those that were criminals in New Orleans... are still criminals - "You can't make a silk purse out of sow's ear."
Posted By Anonymous Patricia, Tucson, AZ : 12:00 PM ET
Why do you think Gretna closed the bridge? They knew what was coming their way! The refugees have caused problems in every city, Houston is just more visible because of the number of refugees they took. They want everything handed to them. A fresh start does not mean a house and everything else is just given to you! WORK is required!Although a small number of refugees are hard working people most have been mooching off the welfare system their whole lives and expect to be given everything. This situation highlights the problem with this country's welfare system. It is time to boot the ones that are able bodied off of the system and let them work for a living. There are a lot of immigrants willing to work to clean up and rebuild New Orleans why not make the residents do it!What do they think that someone else will do the work and they will just move in? If you don't want to work then you starve in the cold! I know it sounds harsh but sometimes tough love is required.
Posted By Anonymous Maggie, Chicago IL : 12:05 PM ET
Personally I have not been directly effected by the refugees; and that's what they are, Evacuees, go back..Refugees stay. My friends in law enforcement have been effected. There were already some south Houston apartment complexes that had curfews b/c of crime now there are many more. At the beginning of their stay there were some neighborhoods the police would not go in after dark. Now they have Overtime officers that have to patrol those neighborhood b/c local residents are being harassed by the refugees.

New Orleans was full of degenerate low lifes, now they have moved and stayed here b/c of more (crime) opportunity.

Don't get me wrong the good people have gotten back on their feet and made the best (some better) of the situation, however MANY have kept with the Status Quo...figuring that the Government owes them. Yeah the government owes you $2000 debt cards so you can go to the strip club or buy diamond necklaces.

Many Houstonians were sympathetic to the Katrina victims...now WE are the Katrina victims.
Posted By Anonymous James, Houston TX : 12:06 PM ET
I think the Katrina victims have definitely added more crime to Houston. Although it is unfortunate, the people who did not have the means to evacuate themselves from Louisiana are the people who came to Houston on the buses. No matter how politically incorrect it is, the lower echelon of society is responsible for a large part of crime in America today (whether it's their fault or not, is another story). Irregardless, this fact has resulted in a large increase in crime in Houston, and from looking at many many Louisiana license plates every day in the city, I dont think many of them have plans to ever leave.
Posted By Anonymous Brandon Webb, Houston, TX : 12:06 PM ET
Look, you people can theorize and debate this all day but I am from Houston and I can tell you this: The cops are right! Right from the start they caused trouble, America was just feeling to warm and fuzzy about helping these people for the news to pay any attention to it. From the day they arrived at the Astrodome that part of the city changed. They were walking around drunk harrassing people and some times mugging. That area of the city became a "stay away zone" for a long time. I am not saying they are all bad because I met many who are decent hard working people. But the rise in crime was totally predictable and makes complete sense. Think about this, the hardest hit neighborhood in New Orleans was the ninth ward, which also happens to be one of the most dangerous inner city neighbor hoods in the United States. So it makes sense that some of that trouble is going to follow when the bulk of the residents move.
Posted By Anonymous Jacob, Houston Texas : 12:07 PM ET
Although it may true that an increase in population usually increases crime, it should be an embarassment to the victims of the hurricane Katrina to participate in such behavior. The government, both local and federal, offered financial assistance and housing to the vitims. Houston opened its city willing to accept the burden and financial cost. The victim of hurricane Katrina who contribute/participate in criminal activity should not continue to expect sympathy from their 'neighbors' across the U.S.
Posted By Anonymous Melanie, Boston : 12:07 PM ET
Houston crimes have skyrocketed since Katrina evacuees - you can't even go out at night any more. 14 murders over Thanksgiving weekend - I'd call that a spike - wouldn't you??? We've imported their gangs and criminals they let out of their jails and they'll be on our state welfare rolls for years to come.
Posted By Anonymous R. M. Garner, Houston, Texas : 12:08 PM ET
Of course it did. Most people pretend not to know or actively ignore the fact that most of the people displaced by Hurricane Katrina came from poor and/or high crime areas....this is not an opinion, but a fact. Further aggravating this fact is that most evacuees headed towards areas in Houston that were already high crime zones. It was inevitable---gangs don't invite new gangs into their homes for coffee.
Posted By Anonymous Carlos, Houston, TX : 12:10 PM ET
I live about 20 blocks from the area mentioned in the article, and in my opinion, the evacuees that are still here at this point, will be staying here from now on. There has been plenty of time, and help provided to these people.

Crime rates and robberies have gone up because of the Katrina evacuees, why is this even being questioned?????
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Houston TX : 12:10 PM ET
Interestingly enough, my brother is an HPD officer in the Fondren division. Having spoken to someone who walks that beat at night, I have no illusions about Katrina evacuees. He has indicated to me that a significant number of arrests and emergency calls have some connection to former Lousiana residents. It's his belief that yes, evacuees have led to a disproportionate increase in crime in
Houston.

He has been extremely busy, going from maybe 8 calls a night to approaching 20 now. On top of this, it's February! Crime usually goes down during the winter months, and rises during the warm summer months. Having an increase that large during the "off-season" is troubling.
Posted By Anonymous Joel S, Houston, TX : 12:10 PM ET
If it's true that Katrina evacuees are responsible for an escalation in Houston's crime rate it's not because they're bad people. It's because New Orleans' more industrious citizens went back to work putting their lives back together, while their criminal element found it more profitable to remain here where there's more people to rob. Three-quarters of New Orleans remains without electricity, while Houston has thousands of convenient stores still operating.
Posted By Anonymous Sebastian Baraldi, Houston, TX : 12:11 PM ET
I used to work in New Orleans and have lived in south Louisiana all my life. New orleans had one of the highest murder rates per capita prior to Katrina. You wont hear this on the news, but there were areas of the City that even routine patrol officers were scared going in to. Since Katrina, there have been only a dozen or so murders. New Orleans also had a sky rocketing gang and drug problem and all the things that go along with that. Katrina emptied the city with the majority of the people going to Houston and Baton Rouge. A friend of mine in local law enforcement in Baton Rouge told me that they are struggling to handle all of the new calls and crime generated from Katrina. No one wants to say it, but alot of the increase in crime in these areas are a direct result of New Orleans evacuees being there.

Simply put, if you have 1 rock in Louisiana and 1 rock in Texas and you move the Louisiana rock to Texas. How many rocks do you now have in Texas if Louisiana has none?
Posted By Anonymous Ryan, Slidell, La. : 12:12 PM ET
It may not have been the Katrina victims doing all the [increased] crimes; it could have been some criminals in Houston taking advantage of their situation, which would be wrong on many levels.
Posted By Anonymous Jared, Cambridge, MA : 12:12 PM ET
Hi Ed, I am glad you bring up the issue even deeper because so far we focus on how disgusting FEMA is without giving enough attention to latent social-ethical problem within Katrina+Rita evacuees issues. Yesterday's blogs were hot, especially from Texans. BTW, I am Texan too and have been very happy to inflate our household's charitable funding to help, bigger than ever. But then ... well, we don't like supporting good causes that end up becoming bad causes. Thought you should delve into the issue even more and probably sociologists would be able to analyze the impact of evacuees to Houston and other areas, what should be done, and what the potential psychological impact of how we have been handling the issues will be. I mean, are we fostering dependencies and stop evacuees from trying harder to start a new life? That's not healthy for our society, and as a nation.
Posted By Anonymous Deidra Malthus, Conroe, TX : 12:14 PM ET
I lived in Houston all my life and I know this part of town was not the safest to being with. But I think it might be better to look at the crime statistics as a whole, maybe for Harris County (encompasses Houston and surrounding cities) instead of looking at an area that already has high crime. I know Houstonians are very generous and they do not feel all the evacuees are contributing to the crime, but I'm sure they are getting fed up with the ones that are.
Posted By Anonymous Gabe Garcia, Boston, MA : 12:14 PM ET
From a "bird's eye" view, the newspapers only tell half the story. What you don't hear about are the increasing number of home invasions, car jackings, and other related crimes. The mood on the street is it is only longer a question of if you will be a victim, but only a matter of when. I have lived in this city since 1981 and for the first time I am serioulsy considering obtaining a permit to carry a firearm. I can't say for certain if there is a direct correlation between the evacuees arrving and the spike in crime. What I can say is this: New Orleans was a very dangerous place pre-Katrina. Houston is now just as dangerous post - Katrina. Finally, if you ever decide to visit this place, be careful ... very careful
Posted By Anonymous Walter Spencer Houston, TX : 12:15 PM ET
It's easy - and probably a bit too simple - to just say that crime came over from New Orleans. Even if there was a boost in crime rate, because a small percentage of the new population was already into criminal behavior, one also has to take into account that the lives of these (often poor) people became even more disrupted than they already were. Being forced to move to a new city, without a job, without anything, after having suffered a severaly traumatic experience of the dimensions we all saw on tv, your life gets under a lot of pressure, and pressure can have strong side-effects on a person's personality. I'd say when the balance wasn't already good, it may get dangerously disrupted in these situations, leading to significant social problems.
Posted By Anonymous Jack, Houston, Texas : 12:15 PM ET
I live in Houston. I talk to people in the Police Department. There is higher crime from the people from New Orleans. They panhandle in the street and they will come up to you and talk to you with a smile as they try to distract you long enough to see if your car door is unlocked. The home invasion crimes are way up. At this time the police are looking for a group of five men who are linked to several murders here. We opened our arms and now we are paying for it.
Posted By Anonymous Ted Weatherly, Houston, Texas : 12:15 PM ET
Do the math: The evacuees are mostly from poorer low-lying neighborhoods in New Orleans, where the crime rate was relatively high. When you move these people, their crime rate moves with them, resulting in a higher net crime rate in the destination city, Houston.
Posted By Anonymous Don, Baltimore, Maryland : 12:15 PM ET
Expounding on Mr.Martin's comments, we all agree the government failed. Can we stop w/ the 'warm fuzzies' and ask the hard question: Why aren't more evacuees spending their down time looking for employment?
Posted By Anonymous Tina Chicago IL : 12:15 PM ET
I live in the Fondren Southwest area and just had my home broken into 2 weeks ago today. I've researched the police reports and can confirm that crime is up. 155,000 new residents and nobody is saying how many were from the 9th Ward or the other bad neighborhoods, how many were unemployed, how many have criminal records. 300 known sex offenders are roaming our streets. Only 11% of the 155,000 are currently employed. Today's Houston Chronicle reports "5 Katrina Evacuees Target of Manhunt". This headline is becoming all too common. I could go on for hours. Send help.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Houston, Texas : 12:16 PM ET
One way to look at this in a logical sense is with respect to class and income level. The Katrina evacuees that ended up in Houston's working and lower class neighborhoods were those that physically or financially could not find more "suitable" lodging or return to their homes after the hurricane. In effect what Katrina did this area of the country was not just to flood the low-income districts in New Orleans but to dislocate the inhabitants of those districts. It should be no surprise to anyone that they would aggregate in other low-income areas of nearby cities. These types of problems should be anticipated and dealt with by community LEADERS and personal responsibility from citizens within those communities, we cannot maintain a free society otherwise and it would be inappropriate to put a blanket label on these people as being criminals and create dislocation camps (i.e. the opposite extreme of welcoming Katrina victims).
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Austin, TX : 12:18 PM ET
I live in Houston and own a house in a middle class area that borders downtown. In the two years I have lived there before Hurricane Katrina, we never heard of any violence in the area. However, since the hurricane we have seen a home invader shot and killed by the homeowner, homeowners followed from a charity event and killed in their house, and four homes that burned to the ground from an arson directly across the street from us.

Since two out of the three crimes are still unsolved, I cannot say for sure they were New Orleans evacuees. But I do know that before they arrived my neighborhood had very little crime. I still believe the right thing to do was bringing them to Houston and I am proud that we helped them out. However, it is time for them to go home and help rebuild their city.
Posted By Anonymous Erik, Houston, TX : 12:19 PM ET
I live just outside Houston, and the crime rate has definitely gone up. The crime rate in Houston, although high, has gone down in the past couple of years, so we can't really blame this spike on an influx of people. Some of the evacuees are sticking around have reestablished their gangs from New Orleans. Crimes at apartment complexes has gotten out of control, mostly at places where there is a high percentage of evacuees. Unless you're here in Texas experiencing it first-hand, you can't really begin to see the effects that the evacuees are having on the crime rate. Keep in mind though, that it's not all of them. It's just a small percentage of the people who fled New Orleans; but a few people can create a lot of problems.
Posted By Anonymous D. Shumate, Galveston, TX : 12:20 PM ET
The same thing is happening in the Phoenix area (on a smaller scale). These people were given places to live and handed jobs. Sometimes the best intentions just don't play out.
Posted By Anonymous John Phoenix AZ : 12:20 PM ET
Just look at New Orleans' pre-Katrina violent crime rates. This is no surprise.
Posted By Anonymous J. Cannon, Springfield, MA : 12:22 PM ET
Any New Orleanian can tell you: Higher crime in Houston after the storm is no shocker. Prior to Katrina, there were many days that our city had 4 or more murders. Some weekends there were 10 or more murders. Since the storm, I think New Orleans has had less than 5 murders (in almost 6 months!!!!). I hope the criminals never come back. I am safe to walk my dog at night! Maybe the Texas criminal justice system can do what New Orleans never did - take criminals off the street for good.
Posted By Anonymous Chad Youngblood - New Orleans, LA : 12:23 PM ET
This subject is a dead one. the amount of responses that this topic has gernerated is very low. I am a "Katrina evacuee" , but I'm orginally from Atlanta, Georgia. The spike in crime in Houston may be directly from the New Orleans area residents, but the press has spread fear unfairly.The criminals, welfair queens and kings,murderers, rapist,carjackers,car theives,and all the other names for the Houston evacuees is a direct indication what the state of LA has been producing in the last 50 years. The problem that Houston is
having is real and should have the input from LA. LA is responsible for poor social awareness and not spearheading any social equality programs. Poor wages, low education acheivements,very high high school dropout rates contributes to all problems wee see in Houston today, tonight and tomorrow.
Posted By Anonymous Johnny BARIA ,HOUSTON TX : 12:24 PM ET
In response to those who adivse, "Just get a job. . .", I have lived in the Houston area for fifteen years and in the last five of those, "just getting a job" has been extremely difficult. I just started a new job, but I'm a resident and I've had a very difficult time doing it.
Posted By Anonymous ES, Houston, TX : 12:25 PM ET
I live in El Paso Texas and I have had never had a problem with crime until the they came here. I have had to add extra security to my townhome since they have tried to break into it more than 3 times in the last 5 months. More so when they first moved in they went around asking people if they knew were to get crack. if you were to come by my apartments where they too move in they for the most part are sitting infront of the complex smoking and harrassing the people walking by. I was walking to get the mail and they started to yell at me to put my head down. Honestly I don't see how we as tax payers have to be supporting people with no desire to better themselves. They have plenty of time to educate/ find work but in my area from what I see they aren't worried about it. Its a sad thing to see in our country.
Posted By Anonymous Erin, El Paso, Texas : 12:25 PM ET
This city has been going downhill long before the evacuees made Houston their home. Police shortages, political scandels and traffic congestion, to name a few. The media wants us to believe that it's the evacuees creating a higher crime rate...and that's probably true. But there are other considerations...like any time you bring more people into an area, crime increases. Next stop for me? Austin.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Houston, TX : 12:27 PM ET
It looks like I left the city of Houston "in the nick of time". I had lived in the city for 21 years but moved out of Texas and back north a few months before all of the hurricanes hit the coast.

Thank goodness I missed the mess caused by Rita. Houston traffic is a nightmare on a daily basis as it is. What I saw on television when they tried to evacuate just made me cringe. I was not unfamiliar with the roadways they showed and knew, without question, that trying to get people out in an organized manner was going to be a near impossibility.

Thankfully, the people I care about who still live in the city were able to avoid any catastrophes even though they were not able to get out in time.

Also, in addition to all of the problems the city has with its huge population of illegal immigrants, the evacuees have caused the crime statistics to spike.

Yes, indeed, I am grateful that I got out of Texas at the right time. I obviously have "an angel on my shoulder" or I could have been stuck in Houston where things just get worse and worse.
Posted By Anonymous Cindy, Columbus, Ohio : 12:29 PM ET
Has it occurred to anyone that a lot of this is gang-related? If you drastically increase the population of a crime-plagued area (and by all accounts, that part of Houston qualifies)you already up your chances of increasing the crime rate, particularly if both the new arrivals and the existing population have a gang problem, which I believe is the case here. And by "problem", I mean something that both the existing citizens and the newcomers recognize as something that needs to be fixed. The fallout from this disaster is going to last for many years and this is just part of it. Everyone is tired of hearing about Katrina victims, but it doesn't mean that something magical has come along and fixed the life of everyone who went through this. This isn't like your house burned down. This is like your house and those of everyone you ever knew burned down at the same time. Be very careful about blaming victims. You'd be amazed at how difficult it can actually be and trust me, you never want to find out.
Posted By Anonymous Chuck, New Orleans LA : 12:31 PM ET
For the past 30 years New Orleans has been the most backwards, regressive, repressive city in the country. It has been in a depressing, steady decline economically and socially. A true embarrassment.

Given such conditions, it should be no surprise that some of its former citizens behave poorly when forced to more to a more civilized environment.
Posted By Anonymous Farrallon, Kenner, La : 12:33 PM ET
This problem does seem like it was imminent, but the problem is that there are no jobs for the Katrina evacuees in Houston. Furthermore the government doesnt seem to be doing anything to help these people get back on their feet in New Orleans, let alone in HOuston and doing nothing to move them into permanant housing. It is possible that this cime rate among the Evacuees is due to frustration over the six month absence from their home, and a growiing feeling that it will be impossible for them to ever return. The other major problem is that Fondren is already full of disadvantaged, and marginalized people who feel frusturated. Add to this thousands of people from similar backgrounds in New Orleans and there are obviously going to be problems. It is unfair however to blame the evacuees who have already lost so much, blaming them almost makes it okay not to help them.
Posted By Anonymous Elijah, MInneapoplis, MN : 12:33 PM ET
Living in Houston I've seen this up close. Direct crime from former New Orleans residents is constantly in the news and there has been fighting in some of the schools between groups from Houston and New Orleans.

Many saw this coming at the time the busses were unloading at the Astro Dome. Not all, but some of these individuals come from a cycle of poverty, broken homes and criminal backgrounds. Many of these families have always relied on government services for their subsistence. They don�t want to change and don�t know any different. An article in the Chronicle last week involved several kids here who are of school age that still haven't been to classes and their parent is sitting in an apartment all day watching TV.

For many there is nothing we can do for them. It�s a shame. This benevolent city has inherited a nightmare.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, Houston , Texas : 12:35 PM ET
I think it is funny how people from other states claim that an increase in crime is hogwash...it is easy to make such overly-liberal claims from 1000 miles away. I live in Sugar Land and read about the Police Chief and Mayor discussing the upswing in violence in the SW neighborhoods due to New Orleans gangs. Don't comment what you don't know about. If you live here...then you can have your say.
Posted By Anonymous CST, Sugar Land, TX : 12:35 PM ET
Well of course there is more crime in any city where the evacuees ended up. Those people who were evacuted were the poorest of poor. They couldn't afford to leave New Orleans. Where you find poverty, you find crime. That isn't the PC thing to say, but it is TRUE. Many evacuees have moved to new cities and started new lives. They used the FEMA $$$ to get back on their feet. Then you have those that are still crying that the government hasn't done enough for them. Who ever stated the government was there to save you? The crime rate will (and has) gone up in any city were many evacuees have landed. Look at the facts, talk to the police...as much as no one wants to face the facts...it's true.
Posted By Anonymous Angie, Atlanta, GA : 12:35 PM ET
Trust me, after Katrina, crime is worse in Houston than ever. The murder rate is up 22%. Every newscast contains murder. And to top it all off, there are not enough police officers to keep the order.
Posted By Anonymous Robert M Sansing, Houston, Tx : 12:35 PM ET
I think the issues now becoming more obvious,six months after Katrina, highlight our government's bandaid, "do what looks good" policy on domestic issues. Recent news included Congress's criticisms of the government response to Katrina, and we still have people in trailers in Florida after two years who cannot understand that they were supposed to look for jobs during that time. Not only has the response to Katrina been impaired, but there is even less follow up to insure that those legitimately in need get what they need, and those who were seeking a free ride get thrown off the bus. There is nothing shameful about being poor. Many of those displaced were doing the very best they could, and are at extreme disadvantage in terms of being able to recover from their tragedy. However, there are parasites in every culture, and once identified, should not be encouraged to continue.
Posted By Anonymous Donna, Newport News, Virginia : 12:38 PM ET
What a ridiculous article, there would have been no increase in crime had OUR government handled the situation properly. Their errors, misuse of funds and delayed reaction time(s) are the cause of increased crime in houston. Lets blame them, not the people who lost everything.
Posted By Anonymous Chad, Philadelphia, PA : 12:39 PM ET
As a resident of Houston, I would unfortunately have agree that the influx of crime and arrival of the New Orleans evacuees are directly linked. Although not all New Orleans evacuees are criminals, the few that are are giving them all a bad name. The local news media has covered several pieces that list statistic for the past several years. Houston, although not a crime free city before, was on a decline in crime.

Starting Sept on forward, crime has spiked so dramatically that the city council and the police dept are attempting to add 4/5 police cadet classes in this year alone. Prior to this year the police academy took in 2 classes a year.

The most alarming statistic to date is that it was reported that there was a murder EVERY DAY for the first 28/29 days of this year. Now many may say 'so what' since Houston is one of the largest cities in the nation, but never has this been the case in Houston.

Currently the city is in search of 5 New Orleans fugatives that are suspected of 20 odd aggrevated assaults and murders. Apparently they are hiding amongst the evacuees who are unwilling to help police for fear of retribution by these members.

Many people are fed-up and to be honest so am I. I cannot help but wonder when it's going to let-up.
Posted By Anonymous SGR, Houston, TX : 12:39 PM ET
It is indeed sad that the criminals will color the viewpoints people have of all Katrina survivors. They were criminals in LA, they will be no matter where they go. One would hope the tragedy would get them to change, but...Please people of TX, don't turn your backs on those who are law abiding, good folks. I've heard some Texans say it's time for them to go home. They have NOTHING to go to. Imagaine if all you've ever known was just wiped out. Not only your home, but stores, streets, churches, jobs, restaurants, schools, EVERYTHING. The thought is beyond comprehensible. Think of the emotional and mental toll this has to take on them. Their lives will never be the same.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy, Pittsburgh, PA : 12:44 PM ET
I have lived in Houston for about 15 years and there has always been crime. The thing about Houston though, is I have never felt like I had to roll up my windows and lock my doors when I was out at night. That has all changed. You hear about the big stuff; murders, gang violence, etc. but it's the little things that affect everybody. I have quite a few friends that work at restaurants and they said they never had problems with cars being broken into before, but now it is aweful. It is the petty stuff that will make people want to leave this town. New Orleans was always a fun place to visit, but anyone who has ever been there cannot argue that they were hassled by people wanting money every time they walked down the street. Now we get that in Houston. I guess that's the thanks we get for trying to help.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Houston, Texas : 12:45 PM ET
I don't see why this is a shock to anyone. New Orleans has been a dirty crime ridden city for years. Having lived in the south all my life, it always amazed me how people romanticized New Orleans. I suppose now the world is seeing what actually lived there.
Posted By Anonymous Leland, MS : 2:39 PM ET
I live in houston and violent crime has gone up 20%. Facts are facts. Yes, we had crime before, but why throw gas on a fire. My prediction: In the near future tax paying, lawful, kind and generous citizens are going to be leaving Houston in droves. I know I want out.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Houston TX : 2:32 PM ET
Ok I have read enough. Although some have said that it not just the people from New Orleans but most have said it is. They blame bc we were poor and we expect the gov to take care of us or that bc we are just plan violent. I will like to put the record straight that I am tired of hiring thay New Orleans people are not wanted. Lest do some math here.
Add your criminials plus New Orleans criminals equal a whole lot of killing
It call protecting your turf. New Orleans (criminals) are trying to get theirs ans Houston ( criminals ) trying to kept theirs.
Mainly not everybod who staid in New Orleans was on welfare and most dont think anyone is there to do anything for them. We kind of feel that we are being pick on by the gov, nature, and you. ALl here is that all of the evacuees has all the jobs. I was release form work in Feb and being searching for a job everday since then. But I go to school, take care of my child and dont ask anybody for anything. But nobody cant see the people who are really trying. They just see the ones who do wrong.
Posted By Anonymous Max Dallas, Tx : 1:41 AM ET
I agree with the lady from Missouri, you act as if crime was not already in Houston. Crime is everywhere in the good USA. We have to help the ppeople as a government. What happen to cleaning up your own backyard before you go over to the neighbors and trying to clean theirs. Bring our troops home get some order in our country build homes for these people so they can go back to their way of living and of course take the criminals off the streets.
Posted By Anonymous Tamara,Jacksonville North Carolina : 11:23 AM ET
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