Violent crime continued to rise in many American cities in 2016, the second year in a row that saw a jump in homicides, aggravated assaults, and robberies.
Data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association pointed to a homicides spike in many major cities in 2016. The increase was compared to the previous year when murders also rose.
While Chicago makes for the most alarming gun crime headlines, Texas cities also saw significant increases in homicides last year.
In Dallas, for example, city officials cited drug crimes and domestic assaults as factors in the increasing crime rates. The Dallas Police Department created a 170-member violent crime task force comprising gang units, K-9, and narcotics.
Some smaller cities with historically low murder rates saw a spike in homicides. For instance, Arlington, Texas, had 4 homicides in 2015 but 18 last year.
The news station KVIA noted significant increases in the homicide rate in Austin and San Antonio last year.
The number of violent deaths in 2016 for Austin was the highest in nearly two decades when the city racked up 39 homicides, the most since 1997.
San Antonio police investigated 151 homicides in 2016. While the percentage increase was not as high as Austin’s, San Antonio has considerably more violent crime.
Homicides Spike in Austin and San Antonio
Drugs and domestic violence fueled San Antonio’s homicides spike, police said.
Various theories are put forward to explain the rise in violent crime. Last year, we noted the perceived link between an influx of cheaper heroin and violent crime.
The Sinaloa Cartel from Mexico was the biggest player in the market. However, the arrest of the gang’s kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in 2014 is credited with creating more violence. Rival gangs fought to fill the vacuum his gang left behind in U.S. cities.
There are other theories including the so-called “Ferguson effect.” This assumes police are backing off enforcement for fear of provoking racial tensions as occurred in Ferguson, MO in 2014 after a police officer shot dead Michael Brown, an unarmed black man.
Another less well-known theory is advanced in a recent article in Mother Jones which claimed childhood exposure to lead may be linked to juvenile delinquency later in life.
If you have been charged with a homicide or a serious drug offense like trafficking, you will be facing the loss of your liberty. It’s important to contact an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Contact us here or call (512) 474-4445.