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Influx of murders in the Houston area likely linked to the pandemic, according to mayor
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The Houston Police Department's unofficial tally has recorded 339 murders in the Houston area this year — a drastic 44 percent increase from last year's 235 murders.

According to KHOU's Jeremy Rogalski and Tina Macias, Houston is on track to record more murders than any year in more than a decade. The current numbers already surpass yearly totals going all the way back to 2007.

To put these numbers in perspective, the city recorded 30-plus murders for at least five months in 2020. No months in the previous year hit those numbers.

The news comes just after Houston police Sergeant Sean Rios was shot and killed Monday by an unknown suspect. Before that, Sergeant Harold Preston was shot and killed in late October responding to a domestic violence call.

COMMITTED TO THE COMMUNITYFallen police Sgt. Harold Preston remembered for devoting career to community

According to Mayor Sylvester Turner, the pandemic and high crime rates are likely correlated.

"This has been a crazy year, people are going through a whole lot, experiencing a whole lot, a lot of things happening on our streets, a lot of people who are on edge," Mayor Turner said during a press conference.

Murder isn't the only violent crime to see an increase in numbers—reported assaults in Houston have gone up as well. There have been 50,108 assaults reported in Houston over the first nine months of the year, a 9 percent increase over the 46,014 assaults reported in that same span in 2019.

While some crimes have increased significantly, other violent crimes like robbery and rape have gone down.

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