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crime in Austin

Violent Crime Rose Three Percent in Austin in 2017

By Peek & Toland on May 31, 2018

Austin has a reputation for being one of the safest big cities in Texas. It’s a reputation that has been tested by rises in violent crime in recent years.

In a recent article, The Statesman reported the number of violent crimes in Austin in 2017 rose approximately 3 percent over 2016.

However, the figures are based on calculations by Austin police through July 2017.

Interim Police Chief Brian Manley outlined new crime figures at a city Public Safety Commission meeting in late 2017. They are derived from the Uniform Crime Report, a compilation of crime data from the FBI.

How violent crime rose in Austin

Violent crime rose in Austin

The definition of violent crime in these statistics is:

  • Homicides
  • Sexual assaults
  • Aggravated Assaults

Violent crimes concern the citizens of Austin and elsewhere more than property crimes. In 2016, many American cities saw sizeable rises in violent crimes. However, the pattern was more mixed in 2017, according to provisional figures.

Measures to tackle violent crimes were discussed at a local and a national level in 2017.

In Austin, police records showed 2,601 violent crimes were committed by the end of July 2017. These crimes included 16 homicides, 565 robberies, 489 sexual assaults and 1,531 aggravated assaults.

The figures represent a rise of 76 incidents over the 2,525 violent crimes reported over the same period in 2016.

The police chief said the major violent crimes to see a rise in recent years are robberies and aggravated assaults, although the year-on-year robbery rate fell up to July 2017.

Austin was hit by a series of nine bank robberies in the first half of 2017. Manley said criminals are committing robberies that follow a pattern, targeting the same kinds of businesses as victims.

The violent crime rate for the whole of 2016 in the city was 435 crimes for every 100,000 people. The annual rate was higher in 2012 when it hit 447 violent crimes per 100,000 people. It fluctuated at about 400 from 2013 through 2015.

Violent crimes carry the heaviest sentences in Texas. If you have been accused of an offense of this nature, it’s important to contact an experienced Austin criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

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Crime Rates Fell in Austin Under Former Police Chief

By Peek & Toland on March 10, 2017

Rising crime rates have made lurid headlines in recent months. Figures released in late 2016 found many of the largest cities in the nation saw double-digit increases in crime rates. However, reports looking at crime in almost a decade in Austin found levels of offending dropped dramatically under former police chief Art Acevedo.

Acevedo left his job in late 2016 to take a job in Houston. The TV station KXAN noted an overall fall in crime during his time in the job.

The report noted robbery, burglary and theft all fell in Austin from 2007-2015 The reduction in robbery and burglary was close to 40 percent. In the same period, the city’s population grew by 200,000 people.

Violent crimes are often the headline-grabbing offenses. In 2007 there were 31 murders in Austin. The figure for 2015 was 30.

However, not everyone is happy with the crime picture in Austin. KXAN spoke to people in areas like Northwest Hills. Here “crimes of opportunity” appear to have become more common as police resources are concentrated downtown.

Austin saw a decreased in crime rates

Break-ins of cars and homes appear to have become more common in these neighborhoods.

In September, we noted recent trends in crime rates that suggested offending spikes in parts of northern Austin.

Crime Rates Increase in North Austin

The Austin Police Department increased patrols in the area, according to the reports. TV stations suggested thefts were driving crime rates up in North Austin.

KXAN reported violent crime rose in Austin after the killings of five police officers in Dallas over the summer. The murder rate was reportedly up 80 percent on 2015.

There is considerable evidence that a steady decrease in violent crime in America’s cities over the last decade was reversed in 2015 and 2016.

New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice reported that the 2016 murder rate for the largest U.S. cities rose 14 percent from 2015, reported Time.

The Texas cities of Dallas and San Antonio saw major spikes in homicides.

The report’s authors project a 31.5 percent increase in homicides nationwide from 2014 to 2016, although the spike is attributable to just three cities: Baltimore, Chicago, and Houston.

Austin has avoided the scale of drug and gang induced crime seen in cities like Chicago and Baltimore.

If a police officer charged you with a violent crime, it’s imperative that you hire an experienced Austin criminal defense lawyer.

Read our resources about homicide here, or call us at (512) 474-4445.

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