Police said two suspects are behind bars in Texas after robbing a Sugar Land Best Buy and accidentally “butt-dialing” 911 on themselves.
Sugar Land Police Department officials told KTRK that the two men allegedly pulled off a heist at a Best Buy in Sugar Land, a city southwest of Houston, at around 3 a.m. on April 27.
Officers responding to an alarm at the electronics store were notified that a 911 call had been made from an open line that dispatchers realized was coming from one of the suspects’ phones.
“[He] somehow butt-dialed 911, they put it all together, officers were already en route to the alarm call when they got the other 911 call,” a communications officer for the Houston Police Department told KTRK.
— KPRC 2 Houston (@KPRC2) April 27, 2019
Officials told the station they then set off in pursuit of the suspected burglars, who were fleeing in a truck. According to the report, the pursuit reached speeds of up to 120 miles per hour.
According to KPRC 2 Houston, the chase ended after about 40 minutes, with the suspects pulling the truck over and fleeing on foot. Police used a helicopter and K-9 unit to pursue the fleeing suspects.
Two were caught, one remains at large, according to the report.
Stolen items from Best Buy including laptops and computer terminals were recovered from the getaway vehicle, police said, according to KPRC.
The same Best Buy was burgled several weeks back, police said, and the suspects were never apprehended.
“They had suspects run from them in a car chase as well. They did not catch those suspects,” a police officer told KPRC.
Crime in the United States
Violent crime in the United States has fallen sharply over the past 25 years, according to both the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
The rate of violent crimes fell by 49 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI’s UCR, which only reflects crimes reported to the police.
The violent crime rate dropped by 74 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the BJS’s NCVS, which takes into account both crimes that have been reported to the police and those that have not.
“From 1993 to 2017, the rate of violent victimization declined 74 percent, from 79.8 to 20.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older,” the U.S. Department of Justice stated.
Both studies are based on data up to and including 2017, the most recent year for which complete figures are available.
The FBI recently released preliminary data for 2018. According to the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, from January to June 2018, violent crime rates in the United States dropped by 4.3 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2017.
While the overall rate of violent crime has seen a steady downward drop since its peak in the 1990s, there have been several upticks that bucked the trend.
Between 2014 and 2016, the murder rate increased by more than 20 percent, to 5.4 per 100,000 residents, from 4.4, according to an Epoch Times analysis of FBI data. The last two-year period that the rate soared so quickly was between 1966 and 1968.
The property crime rate fell by 50 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI, and by 69 percent according to BJS.
According to the FBI’s preliminary figures for the first half of 2018, property crime rates in the United States dropped by 7.2 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2017.
As with violent crime, the FBI survey only takes into account crime reported to the police, while the BJS figures include reported and nonreported crime.
Public Perception About Crime
Despite falling long-term trends in both violent crime and property crime, opinion surveys repeatedly show Americans believe that crime is up.
The vast majority of Gallup polls taken since 1993 show that over 60 percent of Americans believe there is more crime in the United States on a national scale compared to the previous year.
Pew Research surveys show similar findings. A survey in late 2016 revealed that 57 percent of registered voters said crime in the nation as a whole increased since 2008, despite both FBI and BJS data showing double-digit drops in violent and property crimes.
Perceptions differed on a national versus local level.
Surveys of perceptions of crime levels on a local scale showed that fewer than 50 percent of respondents in every single Gallup survey done since 1996 believed that crime in their area had risen compared to the previous year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.