Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon on April 23 told Montgomery County Commissioners Court criminal cases have increased by 11% from 2017-18, growth he attributed to increases in population as well as police presence.
Ligon said the county can expect a further increase of up to 25% for the next year.
“The more people there are in a community, the more crime is detected and arrested,” he said. “Cases that were always there not being detected are now being detected.”
Population increases, along with an increase in the number of police officers and improvement in training, are responsible for the increase in the number of cases filed, Ligon said. Most felony cases in Montgomery County are drug cases, he said.
Ligon said school districts, including Conroe ISD, have increased the number of officers in their departments, further adding to the law-enforcement presence in the county.
Ligon recommended the court consider a criminal justice coordinating committee comprised of stakeholders, including representatives from the court system, county, district attorney’s office and other departments.
“What I’m asking for the court is to consider some type of long-term planning when it comes to law-enforcement and criminal justice issues,” he said. “Let’s have a coordinated effort so that the court can stay informed with these issues as opposed to once a year … getting up here and saying, ‘Well we need 20 new deputies and five new prosecutors,’ and we throw it all on you at once without any warning.”
Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack said he hoped the public perception of crime in the county would not be adversely affected by the perceived increase in felonies.
“I’d be interested to see a comparison that could illustrate … the growth in law enforcement each of those years. … Growth alone is not accounting for this type of growth. I don’t want developers and the community to think we’re attracting nothing but a bunch of criminals. … The thought could be the wrong people are moving here, and I don’t think that’s the case.”
Editor’s note: The original version of this story inaccurately stated the number of felonies in Montgomery County had grown by 11% since 2014. The statistics indicate the overall number of criminal cases increased by 11% from 2017-18.