35% of murder cases in San Antonio have resulted in arrests within the last year, data shows

Former gang member discusses police disconnect with communities of color

SAN ANTONIO – There are a growing number of families waiting for justice. Since November of last year, San Antonio police have made an arrest in 35% of citywide murder investigations.

From late November 2021 to now, 185 murder investigations have been opened, and 65 cases led to an arrest. SAPD recently reported a 67% jump in homicides from last year to this year.

The reason for unsolved murder cases is complicated. A former gang member turned activist believes it starts with the relationship communities of color have with their own identity and law enforcement.

Former gang member and now anti-gang activist William Tutt leads the Gangs Rehabilitation in Progress. He teaches about urban psychotherapy, which helps professionals understand the “hood mentality” and urban identity theory.

“There’s a stigma in the hood that we don’t talk to the police,” Tutt said. “But we also have gotten away with us handling our own business.”

SAPD has previously said it struggles to find witnesses when investigating a murder. On the East Side of San Antonio, SAPD reported 36 murders over the last year, and only 14 cases led to an arrest.

“People that live in the hood, we live in a negative behavior cycle. And there’s a lot of Black-on-Black crime because it’s how I view myself as a human being,” Tutt said.

Assistant Police Chief Karen Folks told KSAT last month that a lot of violent crime is between families.

Tutt agrees, saying violence is a generational cycle. He said it starts with children witnessing violence from their parents.

“Because when I tell you, ‘Next time you see him, you better do something to him,’ and I’m your father, I’m transferring that negative behavior to you,” Tutt said.

“He’s my nephew. He’s my cousin. He may be my dad. He may be my uncle,” he continued. “So my environment is dictating me from birth not to cooperate with the police department, not to assist in any ongoing situations.”

Tutt said someone living in Windcrest has a different relationship with police than someone living in Camelot, which is only a short distance away. He adds that the different relationships will also affect policing in that area.

“The mental processing in the environment dictates something totally different. So, therefore, the policing is going to be totally different and the approach because one individual signifies security, and one individual signifies danger or threat. And we have to deal with what is causing us to believe that we are a threat to anyone.”

Tutt’s research suggests that opposing relationships affect how police prioritize a case.

“If their family members are of importance, then, you know, you get high priority on solving this crime, and it jumps ahead of all of these crimes that have been committed, you know, since 2015 that have been unsolved,” Tutt said.

About the Authors:

Camelia Juarez is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2022. Camelia comes from a station in Lubbock, Texas. Now, she is back in her hometown. She received her degree from Texas State University. In her free time, Camelia enjoys thrifting, roller-skating and spending time with family and friends.