Mayor John Whitmire wasted no time in emphasizing his commitment to combat crime as he embarked on his first night in office, riding alongside Houston Police Chief Troy Finner shortly after being sworn in as the 63rd mayor of Houston. Whitmire, who had pledged to enhance public safety during his campaign, responded to crime scenes around the city shortly after midnight on New Year’s Eve.
“I want constituents to know I take public safety very seriously,” Whitmire asserted to reporters. “We don’t have time to waste.” In a show of dedication, he and Chief Finner ventured out to crime scenes to witness firsthand the challenges faced by law enforcement in the nation’s fourth-largest city.
“I’ll go ahead and announce tonight that the chief has already done an outstanding job of following one of my commitments to a collaborative effort,” Whitmire revealed, expressing his intent to meet with local police chiefs on Thursday to explore ways to work together in making Houston safer.
The Houston Police Department acknowledged Mayor Whitmire’s proactive approach, thanking him for spending his first night in office with Chief Finner and officers. The department expressed anticipation in working collaboratively to enhance public safety.
Whitmire’s push to tackle crime coincides with a positive trend in Houston’s overall violent crime rate. A recent report indicates a projected 20-percent decrease in homicides for 2023 compared to the previous year, showcasing a decline from 427 homicides in the same period in 2022 to 339 in 2023.
The 74-year-old mayor, in his public inauguration at the Wortham Center, emphasized the urgency of his agenda, stating, “There is much to do. I have no patience, no time to waste.” Mayor Whitmire, alongside City Controller Chris Hollins, took their oaths of office, followed by the swearing-in of 16 city council members.
Whitmire’s busy schedule continued with meetings at City Hall and an evening event to honor first responders. Additionally, he attended his first City Council meeting at 11 a.m., marking the commencement of his eight-year tenure dedicated to public service on behalf of the City of Houston.