Here is another story about the effects that the slow collapse of the tax base of state and local governments is having on public safety and law enforcement. Click2 Houston.com has the rather scary details:
Since 2011, the Houston Police Department has faced mounting criticism over the thousands of untested rape kits sitting in evidence. Now, because of a recently completed audit, HPD knows exactly how big the problem is and just how much of a challenge the department still faces.So how many other jurisdictions do you suppose are having this problem but haven't received federal grant money to do what they should be doing anyway...figuring out how big a problem they have?
Last year, Local 2 Investigates was first to report on a massive back log of untested rape kits stored in the department's property room. These kits can contain vital pieces of evidence that can help catch and convict sexual predators and help rape survivors find justice.
Last year, HPD was one of only two police agencies in the country to be awarded a federal grant from the National Institute of Justice to conduct an audit as to exactly how many rape kits have been sitting in evidence untested. HPD officials told Local 2 that audit is complete.
HPD reported, as of Dec. 1, there are 6,663 untested rape kits stored in evidence. HPD officials said some of the untested kits date back to the 1980s.
"Rape kits have to be a No. 1 priority," said Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers Union. "These kits have to be tested and they have to be tested quickly."
As with so many other bad things happening in our economy these days, it all points back to declining revenues:
However, HPD officials said one of the biggest challenges will be finding the resources to tackle the backlog while at the same time handling an average of 930 new rape kits submitted to the department each year.I'm sure the victims of these henious crimes will find plenty of cold comfort in that last statement.