Houston Drug Raid Stats.
A couple of weeks ago, I started sending off open records requests related to drug raids to various cities across the country. My initial goal was to review the warrants and return sheets for these raids, for several reasons.
What I did learn was that over the last seven years, there have been 43,456 complaints filed in Houston in response to the service of a warrant. I’m guessing that includes all warrants, not just drug warrants. Still, it’s a really high figure (17 per day?). In fact, I thought perhaps they’d misunderstood, and run a search for all police complaints in that time. But the records officer specifically said that those were the complaints related to warrant service. Make of that what you will. I’m sure a large percentage of them were frivolous. It’s just too bad there’s no way of figuring out how many complaints are related to a wrong-door raid without shelling out $55,000.
Second, and more disturbing, I learned that HPD has served about 16,000 forced-entry narcotics warrants in the last four years. The number is an estimate because the warrants are packed up in boxes, and the compliance officer guessed by multiplying the average number of warrants per box by the number of boxes. But it’s not likely off by too much either way.
Personally, I think the number of complaints might actually be low. Some number of victims wouldn’t bother filing a complaint, because they would know that the best possible outcome is that it would do no good whatsoever, and at worst it might very well mark them for further “special attention” from the cops. I have no idea how many such victims there might be, though.