Missouri City saw a 46% increase in violent crime in 2020 when compared to 2019, driven largely by increases in robberies and aggravated assaults, according to data presented by Missouri City Police Chief Mike Berezin during the July 6 City Council meeting.

Berezin said the increase in robberies—up 17 incidents from 2019—can be attributed in part to suspects taking advantage of mask wearing, which made them harder to identify. Additionally, the 72 incidents of aggravated assaults in the city—up 30 from the year prior—were largely cases of family violence, Berezin said.

“We certainly saw an increase in our violent crime rate, but I feel very blessed that Missouri City has not experienced what our big brother neighbor to the north has experienced,” Berezin said, referring to high murder rates in Houston.

The city of Houston saw 400 murders in 2020 compared to 281 in 2019—a 42.35% increase. Missouri City had two murders in 2020, up one from 2019.

Additionally, the number of rapes reported in Missouri City declined by seven to 15 in 2020.

Missouri City also experienced a 11% decrease in property crimes—including burglaries, larceny or theft, and motor vehicle theft in 2020.

Instances of burglary were down 10 year over year, while larceny was down by 75. The number of motor vehicle thefts increased by one.

“Our burglary rate really tumbled, and not to sound cliche but a lot of that has to do with COVID[-19],” Berezin said. “People were home; people tend not to break into occupied homes; and people that are home report incidents to us.”

Berezin also presented data on the top police activities in each council district. The top three activities in each district were premise checks, traffic stops and field investigations—activities Berezin called police-initiated.

“In a lot of police departments, police officers have ratcheted back on taking self-initiated activities for one reason or another—it could be what they are seeing in the media or the lack of support they get from their respective communities,” Berezin said. “But in Missouri City we are a little different. We get tremendous support from our community members and you all.”

Council Member Vashaundra Edwards praised the police department for building trust with the community through events and conversations.

“Chief, I want to commend you and your officers for continuing to have a positive community engagement,” Edwards said. “I appreciate that.”