1910 Crime Report

In 1910, Houston’s Chief of Police, George Ellis, reported the following crime statistics for the city in the year ending February 28, 1910:


White Men: 3,022
White Women: 142
Colored Men: 1,479
Colored Women: 382
Total: 5,092


Assault, aggravated 27
Assault, simple 249
Assault to murder 78
Assault to rape 1
Arson 2
Arson, attempted 1
Allowing minor to play pool 3
Abusive language 67
Burglary 152
Cruelty to animals 4
Carrying a pistol 26
Carrying knucks 2
Carrying dirk 3
Contempt of court 1
Cattle theft 2
Drunk 1,167
Disturbing the public peace 497
Disorderly house, keeping 10
Embezzlement 2
Fighting 310
Forgery 17
Fugitive from justice 6
Fornication 2
Gaming 150
Horse theft 6
Lunacy 15
Leaving dead animal in public place 1
Liquor selling, without license 1
Murder 17
Malicious mischief 12
Passing forged instrument 1
Robbery, by firearms 6
Robbery 4
Rape 1
Seriously threatening life 2
Seduction 2
Swindling 5
Theft (felony) 84
Theft (misdemeanor) 120
Theft (from the person) 22
Train jumping 95
Vagrancy 735
Violating Sunday law 12


Automobile speeding 104
Automobile (no lights) 25
Automobile (no number) 3
Accompanying lewd women on streets 3
Bicycles (no lights) 25
Bicycles (riding on sidewalk) 32
Cursing over telephone 2
Causing a collision 9
Conversing with prisoners without permission 2
Driving over fire hose 10
Driving faster than six miles an hour 22
Driving fast over bridge 3
Driving through funeral 6
Discharging firearms in city limits 3
Excavating without a permit 8
Exposure of person 1
Failure to abate a nuisance 1
Hauling dirt from streets 1
Hitching on market awning 1 
Impersonating an ofticer 1
Interfering with an officer in discharge of duty 3
Jumping street cars 3
Loitering in house of prostitution 25
Leaving team unhitched 130
Leaving team hitched on Main St. over 30 minutes 32
Operating theatre without a license 2
Obstructing the streets 7
Obstructing the sidewalks 2
Overcharge in telephone 1
Overcharge in hack hire 1
Preaching without a permit 1
Peddling without a license 6
Refusing right of way to Fire Department 1
Registering as man and wife in rooming house 12
Racing on public streets 2
Spitting on sidewalk 2
Spitting in street car 2
Sleeping in public place 4
Selling unsound eggs 3
Selling beer (no license) 2
Turning in false fire alarm 4
Turning on public water hydrant 1
Trespassing 29
Using horse without consent of owner 4
Violating sweeping ordinance 45
Violating Article 444, City Ordinance 15
Violating “Move On” Ordinance 3
Violating Depot Ordinance 2
Violating Street Car Ordinance 2
Violating Article 639, City Ordinance 1
Violating Slop Ordinance 4
Violating Article 695, City Ordinance 2
Violating Hack Ordinance 7
Violating Article 350, City Ordinance 3
Vicious dog running at large 1

“Knucks” appear to have been brass knuckles, while a “dirk” is a dagger.

A 1905 newspaper article noted with regard to the “crime” of lunacy:

If it be true that the laws of a Nation or a people are an index of their civilization, Texas must admit with some degree of humiliation that she is not yet in the forefront of the world’s great march of progress, for we cling to ancient and obsolete practices; we maintain a custom and follow a law designed when lunacy was regarded as a crime, not a disease.  While our laws have been amended from time to time, the essence and substance have remained the same for the last half century.  We still follow criminal methods of procedure in the apprehension, trial and commitment of our insance to the hospitals.

The nature of Houston’s “move on ordinance” is suggested by an 1889 newspaper article:

The way men stand on the sidewalks, especially about the block corners, has for some time been a provoking nuisance and annoyance to gentlemen passing along on business and to ladies.  This is suffered by the leniency of the police, but it should be broken up.  Complaints from ladies are repeatedly heard of this nuisance.  Two or four or eight men will cluster about the center of the sidewalk and not one of them moves at the sight of a lady who wants to pass, but will stand and see her thread her way around or step over the gutter into the street.  These evidently have not decency or politeness or sense enough to give way.  These sidewalks are for walking, and men who stand should be made to do it so that no interference will be felt by those walking.  There is a move on ordinance here that should not be forgotten.


2 responses to “1910 Crime Report

  1. Very interesting statistics! The times have changed and it’s scary to see how the numbers have shifted so dramatically.

  2. MORE INTERESTING IS TO READ THE POLICE REPORTS OF THOSE AND LATER YEARS UP THROUGH THE 50s. The reports were not works of the best English composition, and were void of today’s rampant PC, BUT were efficiently informative. I am a former Harris County Asst. D.A. and Asst. US Attorney.

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