The cost of Katrina crime
In this AP story on Katrina evacuees contributing to Houston's increase in crime (yes, yet another story!), Harris County Judge Robert Eckels tells us the financial cost:
Judge Robert Eckels, chief executive of Harris County, which includes Houston, said Katrina evacuees arrested in the Houston have cost the county's criminal justice system more than $18 million. In June, Texas Gov. Rick Perry sent $19.5 million to Houston to help pay for additional officers and overtime to police the city after Katrina.
And the human cost:
Houston police believe the evacuees are partly responsible for a nearly 17.5 percent increase in homicides so far this year over the same period in 2005.
But Judge Eckels is optimistic that the bad guys will soon be leaving town:
Eckels predicted the county's worst guests will go home once their federal assistance dries up. And if many choose to stick around, the county will be ready: "We don't put up with it here. If you break the law, you're going to be prosecuted."
I don't know -- as long as Houston pushes for handout extensions and FEMA grants them, this could go on for a while.
KEVIN WHITED ADDS (08-15-2006): This story has reached the BBC. Do you know what that must mean? We are world class!